Pastor Saeed Abedini's Iran Imprisonment Reaches Day 1,000; Groups to Display 1,000 Flowers at US Capitol to Reflect on the Millions of Persecuted Christians

Pastor Saeed Abedini and his children
Pastor Saeed Abedini and his two children in this undated photo. |

Tuesday marks the 1,000 day pastor Saeed Abedini will spend in an Iranian prison for his faith, an occasion that several faith groups will mark by displaying 1,000 flowers before the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

"Every five minutes across the globe, a Christian is killed because of their faith. Today marks day 1,000 that pastor Saeed will be spending in an Iranian prison cell for his Christian faith; 1,000 days of being away from his wife and two precious young children; 1,000 days of facing brutal beatings and torture," said Rev. Patrick Mahoney, pastor of Church on the Hill in the nation's capitol.

"We are leaving 1,000 flowers at the U.S. Capitol to remind members of Congress that millions of Christians are facing persecution and violence around the world and to demand they work for the immediate release of pastor Saeed and work to end this faith-based genocide."

Abedini has suffered beatings on a number of occasion while in prison, but he has maintained hope and faith throughout the ordeal. He was originally arrested back in 2012 while working on an orphanage for children, and sentenced to eight years in prison.

His wife, Naghmeh Abedini, has been campaigning hard for his release and has spoken on his behalf at congressional hearings and to President Barack Obama, but so far the government of Iran refuses to release the pastor.

Groups such as the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Naghmeh, have said that the U.S. should not agree on a nuclear deal with Iran that will ease international sanctions on the country, unless it shows that it's willing to improve its human rights record.

ACLJ's petition calling on Abedini's release has meanwhile climbed to over one million signatures, which reminds people that the deadline for the nuclear negotiations with Iran is next week on June 30.

"Pastor Saeed shouldn't have to languish another single day in one of the world's worst prisons. He shouldn't be forced to endure another day of the pain from prison beatings. He shouldn't have to miss another Father's Day, birthday, or anniversary away from his loving wife and adoring young children," the law group stated.

Mahoney added in his statement that it's "unthinkable" that Congress would decide to move forward with a nuclear deal with Iran while Abedini is still in prison.

The Church of the Hill pastor has also supported campaigns in the U.S. to raise awareness for global persecution experienced by Christians, such as wearing orange ribbons and dress in solidarity with the jumpsuits worn by victims of terror group ISIS.

"We are also encouraging Christians across the nation to wear orange while they fast and pray for pastor Saeed and our persecuted brothers and sisters. We cannot be silent or indifferent when it comes to the persecuted church," he said.

A Facebook event page has been set up for Tuesday's Capitol flower display, which also includes suggestions for other ways that Christians can raise awareness for persecution.

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