Former Boise pastor charged with violating no-contact order

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A former Boise pastor who spent more than three years in an Iranian prison was arrested in Idaho on suspicion of violating a no-contact order in a case involving his estranged wife.

Boise police arrested Saeed Abedini on the misdemeanor charge Sunday. He entered a not guilty plea Monday, the Idaho Statesman <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”http://www.idahostatesman.com/news/local/article205819099.html”>reported</a> . A judge in 2016 restricted Abedini’s communication with the woman to text or email for only matters concerning their two children.

Ada County prosecutors said Abedini violated the order by sending derogatory text messages to her. Prosecutors did not elaborate on the content of the messages.

Abedini, 37, told Judge Thomas Watkins that he moved to Lynchburg, Virginia, last year, where he continues his work as a minister. He grew up in Iran and is a former Muslim who converted to Christianity in 2000.

The judge on Monday set a $500 bond, and Abedini was assigned a public defender. He remained in Ada County jail on Monday.

Abedini, who holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and Iran, moved to Idaho in 2005. He traveled to Iran multiple times over the years to organize underground churches.

He was arrested in Iran in July 2012 and was sentenced to eight years in prison on charges of evangelizing.

Abedini’s case drew nationwide attention, and he was released from prison in Iran as part of a prisoner exchange in January 2016. His wife filed for legal separation five days after being released in the prisoner exchange.

Abedini pleaded guilty in February 2017 to an Idaho charge of violating a restraining order. A decade earlier, he pleaded guilty to a domestic abuse charge.

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, <a target=”&mdash;blank” href=”http://www.idahostatesman.com”>http://www.idahostatesman.com</a>

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