According to the latest developments, Ps. Saeed Abidini who was imprisoned in Iran since 2013 on allegations of compromising national security by arranging religious meeting at home, has been set free as a part of a prisoner swap. Four Americans, including Abedini were released by Iran in exchange for at least six people imprisoned by the United States. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had previously said that Abedini would not be released until 19 Iranian prisoners held in the U.S. are granted their freedom.
Abedini will be staying in a retreat center in Germany for some time before returning to his family in US.
Saeed’s wife, Naghmeh Abedini, who had tirelessly campaigned for Abedini’s release has thanked President Obama, Rev. Franklin Graham and several others who prayed and stood with the family during the hard times. In her Facebook status, she said “We need your prayers more than ever. The enemy wants to bring division and destruction. Please pray that we can heal and move forward united as a family.”
South Californian Pastor Greg Laurie, who led prayer rallies for the release of American pastor Saeed Abedini from an Iranian prison where he was held captive for more than three years, said Abedini’s freedom, announced on Saturday, occurred in God’s perfect timing. “Christians around the world have been praying faithfully for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini. It did not happen as quickly as we had hoped, but it happened in God’s perfect timing. Now we want to remember to continue to pray for Saeed, his wife, Naghmeh, and their children as they are finally reunited, as well as the rest of his family.”
Abedini had converted from Islam to Christianity in 2000. He was detained in Iran in the summer of 2012 and initially incarcerated in Evin Prison in September 2012. On January 27, 2013, he was sentenced to eight years in prison, reportedly on charges of undermining national security through private religious gatherings in Christian homes in Iran in the early 2000s. In November 2013, the Iranian government transferred Abedini to Rajai Shahr prison, just outside Karaj, Iran.