The long wait to see his family is finally over for Saeed Abedini, an American pastor arrested in Iran more than three years ago for his Christian faith. News of Abedini's release from prison was shared last Saturday (Jan. 16), but it wasn't until Thursday that he set his feet back on American soil and wrapped his arms around his loved ones.
Franklin Graham shared several photos of the reunion on his Facebook page Thursday night. A smile spread wide across Abedini's face as he deplaned, joining his family.
"Pastor Saeed Abedini is safely back and will be a guest at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina, as he reacclimates and spends time with his family," Graham shared on Facebook Thursday.
Abedini was freed from the Iranian prison along with three other Americans last week. The release was part of a prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran.
Saeed's story previously gained international attention as his wife Naghmeh worked tirelessly to get her husband back to the U.S.
The 35-year-old Iranian-born pastor from Idaho was detained in Iran in July 2012 during a trip to visit family and to finalize the board members for an Iranian orphanage he was working on. After intense interrogations and a raid on his parents' home, he was put in solitary confinement and later sentenced to eight years in prison for what the Iranian government called "crimes against the national security of Iran."
Saeed's attorneys said the charge stemmed from his prior involvement with Christian house churches.
During his imprisonment, all of which happened in Iran, he was beaten, threatened, suffered internal injuries, denied medical treatment and was separated from his wife and two children.
Please continue to pray for the Abedini family at this time.
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