Naghmeh Abedini

Ada County Sheriff's Office

Boise Police arrested a former local pastor who was held captive in Iran for the better part of three years for violating a no contact order with his estranged wife.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

An Idaho pastor who was imprisoned for nearly four years in Iran will have to serve community service for violating a restraining order.

The Idaho Statesman reports Saeed Abedini on Monday pleaded guilty to violation of a restraining order taken out by his estranged wife, Naghmeh. An Ada County Magistrate judge sentenced Abedini to 180 days in jail, but suspended all but five days. He will have to work off those days through community service.

On Tuesday, Abedini declined to comment on the matter.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP Images

Despite attempts to reconcile their differences, two high-profile Boiseans appear to be on the path to divorce.

 

Saeed Abedini made international headlines when he was freed from an Iranian prison earlier this year after his wife, Naghmeh, advocated for three years to get him released. The Christian pastor had been arrested in Iran after the government accused him of starting home churches in the Islamic country.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Update, 3:42: Naghmeh Abedini filed court documents to legally separate from him the same day he returned home to Idaho.

An American pastor who was imprisoned for nearly four years in Iran returned home to Boise on Tuesday. And his wife has filed legal papers to keep her children in Idaho.

KBOI-TV reports that Saeed Abedini landed around 4:40 p.m. on a private plane.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Sunday started as a cold and icy morning. As the fog began lifting in Boise, Sunday morning radio programing was interrupted as President Obama stepped up to the podium at the White House.

“Pastor Saeed Abedini is coming home," Obama said. "Held for three-and-a-half years, his unyielding faith has inspired people around the world in the global fight to uphold freedom of religion. Now Pastor Abedini will return to his church and community in Idaho.”

A senior U.S. official says the plane carrying Americans who had been imprisoned by Iran has left Tehran.

The Obama administration official isn't saying whether all four Americans were on the plane, just that those "who wished to depart Iran have left."

Among those released as part of a deal between the American and Iranian governments is Saeed Abedini, a pastor from Boise. On Twitter, his wife Naghmeh said her husband has left Iran.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

The wife of an Idaho pastor who is among four detained Americans being released from Iran says a "huge burden" is being lifted with the news.

Naghmeh Abedini told The Associated Press that after she learned that Saeed Abedini was to be released early Saturday, she woke her kids up shortly afterward and told them "Daddy was coming home." She says they were excited and couldn't believe it.

The Boise man was detained for compromising national security, presumably because of Christian proselytizing, in September 2012. He was sentenced in 2013 to 8 years in prison.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Update, 10:15 a.m., Monday: The family of Idaho pastor Saeed Abedini is planning to reunite with him on the East Coast. Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, told the Idaho Statesman Monday that she and her two children will fly to meet him on the East Coast to heal and reconnect with him. She says her husband is currently being treated at a U.S. Army medical facility in Germany.

Iran is releasing four Iranian-American prisoners Saturday, as part of a prisoner swap with the U.S.

The release, originally reported by Iranian state media, has been confirmed by U.S. officials. Iran is also releasing a fifth American detainee, separate from the exchange.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

After three years of advocacy on behalf of her husband Saeed, Naghmeh Abedini says she has decided to pull back on public appearances. According to an article on the website Christianity Today, Naghmeh Abedini cites marital abuse as her reason for moving out of the spotlight.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Iran's deputy foreign minister says Iranian diplomats discussed the case of Americans still held captive by Tehran. That includes Boise pastor Saeed Abedini. The issue was raised on the sidelines of negotiations in Vienna earlier this month that led to the landmark deal on curbing Iran's nuclear program.

Abbas Araghchi told reporters in the Iranian capital on Wednesday that cases of "imprisoned citizens" were discussed with their American counterparts during the nuclear talks.

He says "humanitarian" reasons had motivated the discussion but did not elaborate.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Disappointed. That’s how Naghmeh Abedini describes finding out the release of her husband was not included in the Iran nuclear deal announced Tuesday.

Her husband, Saeed Abedini, is a pastor from Boise. He has been held in prison in Iran since 2012. He was convicted of undermining state security for forming private Christian churches in homes in Iran, and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

After hearing testimony from four families, U.S. lawmakers passed a resolution calling on Iran to release three jailed Americans and provide information about a former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007.

As the June 30 deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran approaches, the families say it's time for the U.S. to push hard on this issue.

Among those who spoke Tuesday before a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was Daniel Levinson, son of former FBI agent Robert Levinson.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

The wife of a Boise pastor jailed in Iran will testify tomorrow before the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Naghmeh Abedini will tell the story of her husband, Saeed, who has been detained in Iran since 2012.

Jim Max / For Boise State Public Radio

It's been almost two-and-a-half years since Boise pastor Saeed Abedini was first imprisoned in Iran. Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, has been working to get her husband's freedom secured ever since.

She's even spoken in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to plead her husband's case.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Abedini got her message directly to President Barack Obama.

Castle Peak, Baker Ranch
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama’s visit to Boise is a rare chance for Idaho groups to get their messages in front of the nation’s leader. Organizations critical of the President are organizing demonstrations outside the Boise State University sports complex where he'll speak Wednesday afternoon. Others will rally for causes and issues hoping to get attention from Obama.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Naghmeh Abedini says she misses her husband and fears for his safety. It’s been two years since Boise pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to an Iranian prison, accused of undermining state security by trying to establish a network of Christian churches in private homes.

His supporters will hold a prayer vigil for Saeed Friday.

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Naghmeh Abedini's Iranian-American husband converted from Islam to Christianity 13 years ago. Since then, Saeed Abedini has made many trips to Iran, most recently to build an orphanage.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

The wife of a Christian Boise pastor imprisoned in Iran spoke in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council Tuesday. Naghmeh Abedini traveled to Geneva to make her case for her husband’s release.

Saeed Abedini has been in prison since last September, and was sentenced for attempting to convert Iranians to Christianity.

Mrs. Abedini addressed the international governing body for the first time.