Bergdahl's release brings hope to Pastor Saeed Abedini's wife
The release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl brings to mind another Idahoan imprisoned in the Middle East -- Pastor Saeed Abedini -- who has been in Iranian jails since 2012.
Abedini travelled to Iran to help build an orphanage in the city of Rasht. His wife, Naghmeh, said the construction was approved by the Iran.
"He was encouraged by the government to work on the orphanage and unfortunately he was taken in 2012 by Revolutionary Guards," said Naghmeh.
Since his capture, Naghmeh and their two children have not heard from him. "Unfortunately, I haven't seen him in two years come June,” she said.
Abedini was sentenced to eight years in prison in January of 2013 on charges of undermining national security through his Christian activities in the country in the early 2000's.
"It is frustrating,” his wife said. “Because according to Iran's own admission, Saeed did not break any law. He was not there illegally."
Abedini has been beaten while in prison and hospitalized for his injuries. Naghmeh says the beatings have continued. "A few weeks ago they took him from the hospital and put him back in prison and the way they took him, they beat him again. So he's been continually beaten the last two years and he has internal bleeding issues and health problems."
President Obama says it was the declining health of Bowe Bergdahl that swayed him to make the prisoner exchange. Naghmeh hopes similar action will be made in releasing her husband too.
She told On Your Side, "I hope that our government takes this issue, this religious freedom issue, this human rights issue, seriously and that Iran gets the message that this is an important issue to us and Saeed needs to be release unconditionally and released immediately."
July 28th will mark the two-year anniversary of Abedini’s imprisonment.