16 February 2017
– by Alex Williams

An Iranian pastor whose imprisonment in Iran prompted a public campaign for his release has avoided returning to jail, this time in the USA, after he violated a restraining order taken out by his estranged wife.

Pleading guilty at a county magistrate court in Idaho where he now lives, Saeed Abedini, was sentenced to 180 days in jail suspended for five days.

Declining to comment on the decision, the 36 year old was quoted by the Idaho Statesman as saying: “This was a personal matter that I won’t share in public.

“I will write something in my book in the future.” 

A former Muslim who grew up in Iran, Abedini converted to Christianity 17 years ago and moved to the United States with his wife, Naghmed, in 2005.

Involved in holding underground house churches in Iran, Abedini was arrested during a visit to his homeland in 2012 and jailed for eight years over evangelism offences.

Naghmed Abedini brought significant attention to her husband’s case in 2015 when she successfully lobbied for the support of US president Barack Obama who – alongside Rev Franklin Graham – pledged his support for Saeed. 

Emails by Naghmed shortly before Saeed was released from prison in January 2016 revealed issues concerning their marriage and she filed for divorce the day after he arrived in Idaho.

No details concerning Mr Abedini’s violation of a restraining order on 26th May 2016 have been made public.

Saeed was also fined $1,000 with $500 suspended, placed on unsupervised probation for two years and ordered to keep at least 300 yards away from Naghmed Abedini’s home in West Boise.

Article source: www.premier.org.uk

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