Two years ago on September 26, 2012, U.S. citizen and pastor Saeed Abedini was thrown into an Iranian prison simply because of his Christian faith. During that time, he was working with the Iranian government to build a local orphanage.
In November of 2013, Abedini was transferred from a political detainee jail to a “notoriously violent lockup.” He has since endured torturous beatings and “sustained injuries for which he still needs surgery.” In January, Abedini began an eight-year prison sentence after he was convicted of starting a network of churches in Iranian homes.
Abedini’s wife Naghmeh recently appealed to President Obama and the Iranian government by releasing this video footage of her children, Jacob and Rebekka:
“I miss him so much. … I pray that he will come back home but he’s still not back home," Rebekka said in tears.
Jacob said, “I don’t want him to miss another birthday or Christmas or Father’s Day. … My heart cries because it misses daddy.”
The children also spoke in Farsi in their message to Iranian officials. To watch the video, click here.
Naghmeh Abedini appeared on FNC this morning to discuss her decision to make this video after keeping the children out of the public eye for the past two years:
As the years go by with Saeed being gone from our family, it’s getting more painful for the kids. My daughter’s eighth birthday is coming up in September and this will be her third birthday without him. They are asking — they’re saying, mom, what can we do… we want to bring daddy home. I’m showing the world a glimpse into the torture they’re going through every day missing their dad. I hope President Obama and others see this and say how can we get him home?
Jay Sekulow, Chief Council at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and the top attorney working to bring Abedini home, spoke about the recent developments:
President Obama did ask [Iranian] President Rouhani to release Saeed Abedini. Not much has happened since that request came in. … With the trouble in Iraq and Syria with ISIS, with the U.S. concerned about Christians in Iraq, with the Iranians sending forces in to go after the ISIS terrorists, the U.S. is in this ongoing dialogue. I think now is the time for the president to say look, we’re having these multilateral discussions on a whole host of issues, including the persecution of Christians in Iraq. You have the Iranians saying that this ISIS group is terrorist — well, the Iranians could do something very wise here and that would be release an American that’s held captive — held captive because of his faith. … I think Iran has a unique opportunity to build some form of good will here and the president, who has directly asked for his release, should now demand it. No longer ask, demand the release of this pastor. Period. Demand.
Nearly 300,000 people have signed a petition demanding Abedini's release.
Believers around the world will join in prayer for those persecuted for their faith on September 26, which marks the two-year anniversary of Abedini's imprisonment. Click here see if a vigil will be hosted in your city.