RALLY UNDERWAY: Naghmeh Abedini, 'Today is the day'

by Will Hall, |
Supporters of American Pastor Saeed Abedini chant "Save Saeed" as a call to President Obama to work for Abdeini's release from an Iranian jail. | KBTV.COM/screen capture

BOISE, Idaho (Christian Examiner) – A large crowd of supporters of American Pastor Saeed Abedini are wearing yellow and chanting "save Saeed" now in front of the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on the campus of Boise State University ahead of President Obama's speech at 2:45 p.m. Mountain Time today.

Naghmeh Abedini, wife of the imprisoned minister, announced by Twitter yesterday she is scheduled to meet with the president sometime during his visit, but has not said when the two will talk.

In an interview with Boise's KTVB, she said "today is the day" she and her family have been praying for.

Naghmeh Abedini is embraced by supporters at a rally in front of the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on the campus of Boise State University. She hopes the crowd will encourage President Obama, who is speaking at the university today, Jan. 21, to work for the release of her husband, American Pastor Saeed Abdeini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for more than two years of an eight year sentence for allegedly starting churches.

She told the local news outlet that meeting the president in person would be much different from all the letters she has sent to the president asking for help, and said she plans to simply relay her son Jacob's message, "Please bring Daddy home."

"It's an opportunity for me to see him face to face. I think he will see a glimpse into the kids and I suffering over the last two-and-one-half-years.

"He has kids. I know he cares. I watched his speech last night. He cares about the individual as much as he does everyone else," she said, "and I know he cares about family.

"Meeting with him personally, I am praying that it will touch his heart."

The meeting appears to be prompted in part by a letter sent to the president on Monday from U.S. Senators Mike Crappo and James Risch, as well as U.S. Congressmen Mike Risch and Raúl Labrador, all of Idaho.

"We are well aware of the time constraints on your visit and the need to ensure adequate security, but given the nature of Pastor Abedini's situation, we would appreciate you taking time to meet with his wife to discuss your administration's efforts to secure his freedom," the letter states.

There also is a petition on beheardproject.com/saeed with nearly 200,000 signatures asking the international community to demand the release of the American pastor.