Exclusive Video: Pastor Saeed Abedini lands in Boise on private plane
BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Boise Pastor Saeed Abedini is back home.
The Boise pastor landed in Boise on a private plane at about 4:40 p.m. local time. He had been staying at a North Carolina retreat center for the past few days.
Abedini, who had been in an Iranian prison for about three and a half years on charges related to his Christian faith, was released earlier this month in exchange for seven Iranians being held or charged in the United States.
He was originally sentenced to serve eight years behind bars.
After he was released from Iran, he was taken to a hospital in Germany for a few days before he was reunited with his mother, father and sister in North Carolina.
"My first thought was the kids," Saeed's wife, Naghmeh, told KBOI 2News after learning about his release. "I woke them up, it was exciting. It was just such an amazing moment of running to them...I just ran and said 'Daddy's coming home, he's free!' They jumped up, they were jumping, dancing. I wish I could have recorded it it, but I didn't."
Naghmeh and their children had planned to meet her husband in Carolina, but at some point, the plans changed to just have Saeed come home.
"He told me he is not angry and he is not bitter about his imprisonmentbut he is tremendously thankful for his freedom and to be back in the United States," the Rev. Franklin Graham wrote on Facebook. "Saeed wants to express his gratitude to each individual and each church across this country and around the world who has prayed for him over the last 3 1/2 years."