Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini Freed from Iranian Prison 

click to enlarge Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, before Saeed was imprisoned in Iran. Naghmeh confirmed her husband has been freed. - COURTESY ACLJ
  • Courtesy ACLJ
  • Naghmeh and Saeed Abedini, before Saeed was imprisoned in Iran. Naghmeh confirmed her husband has been freed.

Back when President Barack Obama visited Boise almost a year ago, he held a private meeting with Naghmeh Abedini to talk about her imprisoned husband—Saeed.

Saeed, a Christian pastor born in Iran but living in Boise, went to Iran to help build an orphanage in the summer of 2012. He was then arrested under charges of evangelizing and was sentenced to eight years in prison for "threatening the national security of Iran," according to Iranian authorities. He spent nearly three-and-a-half years in one of Iran's most notorious and brutal facilities, the Evin Prison.

On the morning of Jan. 16, Saeed's wife posted on her Facebook wall, "It is confirmed: Saeed is released!!!" 

The release stemmed from an exchange with seven Iranians imprisoned or charged in the United States for violating sanctions against Iran, according to the Washington Post. Along with Saeed, the Post reported three other detained Iranian Americans were also released, including one of the Post's own correspondents, Jason Rezaian. 

Naghmeh worked hard to lobby for her husband's release, traveling to Washington D.C. and testifying before congressmen. She spoke before thousands until November 2015, when she disclosed details about the strife in her marriage with Saeed.

According to Christianity Today, she emailed her supporters about "physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse (through Saeed's addiction to pornography)." She said the abuse started early in their marriage and got worse during Saeed's imprisonment, when they communicated through phone and Skype.

At that time, she withdrew from the public eye to pray.

"It is very serious stuff and I cannot live a lie anymore," she wrote. "So, I have decided to take a break from everything and seek the Lord on how to move forward."

She told Christianity Today that she would continue to pray for her husband's release. 

The prisoner swap coincides with the International Atomic Energy Agency's preparation in certifying Iran's compliance with a nuclear deal. That will lift U.N. sanctions against the country, returning around $50 billion in Iranian funds that were previously frozen, according to the Post. U.S. officials are now awaiting confirmation that the four freed prisoners are on a Swiss plane and leaving Tehran.
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