Former Iranian Prisoner Saeed Abedini Sentenced Over Violation of Wife’s Restraining Order

An American pastor who had been imprisoned in Iran for three years until he was freed last January in a prisoner swap with the U.S. was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty last year to violating a restraining order sought by his wife, who he filed for divorce from last fall.

Saeed Abedini was sentenced to 180 days in jail, but with all but five days suspended, and was credited with one day in light of his arrest in August. He was also informed that he may perform community service for the four remaining days.

According to the Idaho Statesman, Ada County Magistrate Daniel Steckel also fined Abedini $1,000, but suspended half of the penalty, and placed the pastor on two years of unsupervised probation.

Abedini may not come within 300 yards of his wife’s home, and a third party has been arranged to transport the couple’s children back and forth to visitations with their father. He may not have contact with his wife unless it relates to the children.

He did not wish to speak about the matter when contacted by the Statesman, but said he would “write something in [his] book in the future.”

As previously reported, Abedini, a former Muslim, left Iran in 2005 and moved to the United States with his wife and two children to find religious freedom after facing conflict with authorities for planting house churches in the county.

In 2012, he traveled back to Iran to build an orphanage and visit his parents when he was taken into custody. He was sentenced to eight years in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison, but was transferred to to Rajai Shahr Prison in 2013, where he remained until January 2016, when he and other Americans were set free in a prisoner swap with Iran.

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Just months before Abedini’s release, his wife Naghmeh, who had been tirelessly urging the U.S. government to work toward her husband’s release, announced that she would place her efforts on hold, citing marital issues.

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

Naghmeh Abedini asserted that she had suffered “physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse” stemming from her husband’s alleged porn addiction—abuse that she said worsened during Abedini’s imprisonment in Iran.

When Abedini returned to the states, she filed for a restraining order and sought legal separation.

But Abedini denied the claims, telling the Idaho Statesman, “Much of what I have read in Naghmeh’s Facebook posts and subsequent media reports is not true. But I believe we should work on our relationship in private and not on social media or other media.”

“I never abused anyone in my life, and I’ve never been addicted to anything,” he also told Christianity Today. “It’s clear to me that Satan is behind this.”

In October, Abedini announced on social media that he had filed for divorce.

“My heart is deeply saddened to be sharing the news that Naghmeh and I will be divorcing,” he wrote.

“There are no words to describe the ongoing effect of the trauma I experienced and my family has experienced both during and in the aftermath of my imprisonment. We are different people, and we are hurting people. It pains me to say, but I have decided the only path toward healing is apart, and not together,” Abedini said.

The divorce has not been finalized and is currently pending.


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  • Weary Warrior

    This is a sad postscript to what seemed like a strong Christian faith during his imprisonment.

  • james blue

    A male who abuses woman is not a man.

    • Kaz

      A study done at Northwestern University found that gays’ rates of domestic abuse are twice as high as normal couples.

      Apparently gay men believe that violence makes them more manly. People who work in Emergency Rooms know what gay couples are like.

      • james blue

        So it’s acceptable for heterosexual males to abuse women?

        • http://OnlyJesusSaves.org Director@OnlyJesusSaves.com

          Remember, he denies her claims. Keep this in mind that he could be innocent. Just because someone claims something does not mean it is true. It is SAD to see this happen, but I suspect there is far more going on than we know.

          • james blue

            Sure, but he pled guilty to domestic assault in 2007. Do you think it ended there? Wife beaters tend to not change their abusive habits, including those who claim to have found Christ.

  • http://www.gmail.com/ David van Heerden

    Welcome to America, the land of freedom, free porn and free divorce without proper cause.
    He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
    And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    Another typical Calvary Chapel story. It can’t be overlooked that BOTH the “pastor” and his wife failed to obey Scripture. And what is Calvary Chapel saying about this?

    It’s also a sad state of affairs to see how many who profess to be Christian have commented on this. It should be blatantly obvious that folks don’t have the omniscience necessary to be taking sides and assuming to know they have the righteous view to make a judgment but that doesn’t seem to slow the majority down one iota.

    Evidently bearing false witness and gossipping is a sin they think God just winks at. Especially when it’s about a pastor and his wife!

    • WorldGoneCrazyBDeadLongLiveWGC

      “It’s also a sad state of affairs to see how many who profess to be Christian have commented on this.”

      This is self-refuting, since you are commenting on this and you are (presumably) Christian.

      I agree with your other points, however.

      • Royce E. Van Blaricome

        Thanks for bringing that up and giving me an opportunity to clarify. By “this” I was referring to the personal aspects of what’s going on that none of us our privy to. And especially the taking of sides and railing on the other side without knowledge of the actual facts.

        Sorry about the confusion.

        • WorldGoneCrazyBDeadLongLiveWGC

          Fully agreed.

          Furthermore, I think your point about “he said, she said,” if that is what you meant, is most wise.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Thank you. Unfortunately, a quick scroll after coming to this page is evidence that wisdom is not being applied by many.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    I think people should leave this couple alone, really. Everyone’s story will be revealed at the end and remembered 100% accurately for all eternity, both those who were shamed and those who shamed others. All according to what Jesus has told us. Nothing hidden. Men and women should fear God alone. Internet records, social media, other media, and rumors are nothing comparing to all the records God has on all of us. Angels watched and the skies even carry all our records.

    • NCOriolesFan

      it is hard to leave them alone when first his wife PUBICALLY campaign for her then husband’s release from Iran then she made the abuse allegations PUBLIC. Al we, on the outside can do is pray for the best of a PUBLICALLY bad situation.

      • Grace Kim Kwon

        Yes, but at least Christians should give them peace. Pastor Abedini was released and that should be good enough for all of us. There are numerous number of other pastors and Christians still imprisoned today.

        • NCOriolesFan

          Oh I’m glad he was released even if not the priority of Obama. However, his wife has made their lives very public.

          • Grace Kim Kwon

            Celebs are usually wrong kind of people, but general population makes them that way. If we don’t jump into gossips, media will upload more serious, important news.

    • IzTheBiz

      Agree! Personally, I don’t think I would be posting stuff on facebook about what is going on, but each to their own!

  • CS Berean

    1. Saeed pleaded guilty to the charges.
    2. Saeed filed for divorce and left his children
    3. Saeed was defrocked and is no longer a Pastor.

  • Hal Slusher

    People are people dont judge either of them we know not the real truth.

  • George Jenkins

    How, pray tell, did the alleged abuse “worsen during Abedini’s imprisonment in Iran.”??? Something funny here.

  • Chet

    The Devil and his worldly sexually free crazed crowd just love this type of story… Very sad after all he went through in prison and all his wife’s valiant efforts at freeing him. Should be some means of working things out as nothing indicates here that either is seeing someone else…

  • Florenca Mcdowell

    Pray for them both God can heal anything.