American-Iranian pastor Saeed Abedini has spoken out about his three and a half years in an Iranian prison, having returned home last week.
Abedini, who was imprisoned in 2012, described severe beatings and extensive periods in solitary confinement. He also said the judge who sentenced him had claimed he planned to use Christianity to overthrow the Iranian government.
“He said, ‘Do you know why you are here?’ I said, ‘Yes, I’m here because of my Christian faith and starting house churches’. He said ‘No, you are not here for that, you are here because you want to use Christianity to remove the government’. I said ‘No, I don’t want to do that, I just came here to start an orphanage, loving people and sharing the Gospel with people’. But he said ‘No, you guys are using Christianity to remove the government, that’s why you are here’,” Abedini told Fox News.
The pastor has now been reunited with his wife, Naghmeh, who campaigned vigorously for his release. However, local news channel KTVB in Abedini’s hometown of Boise, Idaho, has reported that the couple are taking some time to work on some “very serious personal issues”. A court case has been filed regarding “domestic relations”, with legal experts saying this could mean separation or divorce.