A Tehran appeals court has upheld an eight-year prison sentence for an Iranian-American pastor jailed for his role in establishing underground churches in Iran, his lawyer told the Iranian Students' News Agency on Monday. The pastor, Saeed Abedini, a naturalized American citizen who converted to Christianity, was originally sentenced in January after being convicted of disturbing national security by creating a private church in his house, said his lawyer, Nasser Sarbazi. In March, Secretary of State John Kerry demanded the pastor's release. Mr. Abedini's supporters said that he once led underground churches in Iran when such activity was largely tolerated during the pro-reform presidency of Mohammad Khatami from 1997 to 2005. He eventually moved to the United States but returned to Iran to help build an orphanage. He was detained in September 2012.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.