Obama to Visit Imprisoned Pastor Saeed Abedini's Hometown; Wife Naghmeh Pleads With President to Meet With Her

Franklin Graham and Naghmeh Abedini
The Reverend Franklin Graham, CEO of Samaritan's Purse, leads a group in prayer at a vigil for imprisoned Iranian-American Pastor Saeed Abedini in Lafayette Square, Washington, September 25, 2014. Naghmeh Abedini (R), wife of Pastor Saeed, and their two children. |

President Barack Obama is set to visit Boise, Idaho, on Wednesday, the hometown of pastor Saeed Abedini, who's serving eight years in prison in Iran for his faith. Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, has pleaded with Obama to meet with her so that she can ask him for her husband's release.

"My heart leapt with hope when I heard that you would be visiting my hometown of Boise, Idaho. Since the Iranian government took my husband, Saeed Abedini, almost three years ago, I have been praying and wanting to meet with you," Naghmeh Abedini wrote in a letter ahead of Obama's visit.

"With each of my travels to Washington D.C. I hoped that I would get a call, or an invitation to see you and to speak with you. To have you look into my eyes and see the piercing pain that has been there since my husband's imprisonment; to see my kids and to know that they have missed the warm embrace of their dad for nearly three years."

She added: "Mr. President, my children and I respectfully request, as you come to our home town of Boise, Idaho, that you take a moment of your time to meet with us."

Pastor Abedini was imprisoned in Iran in September 2012 after traveling to work on a children's orphanage, and was later sentenced to eight years in prison.

Since then the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Naghmeh and the couple's two children, has campaigned, along with hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, calling for the pastor's release.

Naghmeh Abedini has spoken before the U.N. and other organizations, sharing her testimony and her hope to see her husband freed again. In September she marked the two-year anniversary of his imprisonment by praying outside the White House.

Pastor Abedini has held fast to his faith despite the brutal treatment he has received in Iranian prisons, which has included beatings and death threats by jihadists believed to be connected with terror group ISIS.

Obama has spoken in the past over the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to ask for Abedini's release, but so far the pastor remains in prison.

The ACLJ also addressed the president ahead of his visit to Boise, and wrote: "As you know, pastor Saeed is an American citizen, imprisoned in Iran merely because of his Christian faith. You have publicly called for his release, and your State Department has engaged Iranian diplomats requesting that he be freed. For those actions, we are deeply grateful," the law group said.

"Yet he remains in prison, and there are public reports that the United States may reach a nuclear deal with Iran without securing the release of Americans held captive in that country," the message continued.

"When you are in Boise, we request that you take a few minutes from your schedule to meet with pastor Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, so that she may make a personal appeal for her husband. After enduring years of fear and uncertainty, she deserves to be heard."

Free CP Newsletters

Join over 250,000 others to get the top stories curated daily, plus special offers!


Most Popular

More In U.S.