A prayer vigil on behalf of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for over two years, will be taking place in front of the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning, an hour before Naghmeh Abedini, Pastor Saeed Abedini's wife, will be testifying before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and petitioning for the release of Americans who are detained in Iran.
The prayer vigil is hosted by a group called the #Orangejumpsuit Campaign that has been campaigning and advocating on behalf of persecuted Christians, and encouraging Christians to "stand in solidarity" with those who are persecuted worldwide by wearing orange and using #orangejumpsuit on social media.
"It is clear that nations, world leaders, and all people of goodwill can no longer be silent when it comes to the persecution of Christians," said Patrick Mahoney, a pastor from Church on the Hill in Washington, D.C. and a leader of the #orangejumpsuit campaign. "The global community must 'link arms' together and boldly act and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters."
"The global community must not be indifferent to the crushing of religious freedom and human rights by Iran, ISIS, and other groups who are committed to silencing all voices who do not agree with theirs," Mahoney said.
Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor from Boise, was arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison in 2012 while he was finalizing plans to build an orphange in Iran. Reports say that Abedini has been placed in solitary confinement, and has been abused during interrogations. Abedini's supporters have also used social media to spread awareness and advocacy on his behalf, using #SaveSaeed.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday morning, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs will also be hearing testimonies from three others whose relatives are imprisoned or missing in Iran: the sister of Amir Hekmati, who was arrested and accused of spying in 2011; the brother of Jason Rezaian, the former Tehran bureau chief for the Washington Post who has been imprisoned since July 2014; and the son of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent whose whereabouts have been unknown since March 2007 when he visited Kish Island in Iran.
The committee will thereafter vote on a resolution that demands Iran "immediately release the three United States citizens that it holds, as well as provide all known information on any United States citizens that have disappeared within its borders."