The two young children of Saeed Abedini, an American pastor who has suffered in Iran’s brutal prison system for more than two years, are featured in a new video pleading with President Barack Obama to help bring their father home.
“Dear President Obama, please help bring my daddy home,” Rebekka, 7, and Jacob, 6, ask in the short clip, as the two describe — through kids’ lenses — the immense pain and loss they’re feeling.
The children beg Obama to step in to help Abedini return to the family residence in Idaho, with Jacob telling the camera that his “heart cries” over his father’s ongoing plight.
“I miss him so much,” Rebekka adds. “I don’t want to miss another birthday without him.”
She continues, “Why does our daddy need to be in prison for loving Jesus?”
Watch the heartbreaking video below:
Naghmeh Abedini, the detained pastor’s wife, has heavily criticized Obama in the past for seemingly not doing enough to rescue her husband.
“I’ve recently heard him make great speeches on Nelson Mandela and people who have been in prison, because of what they believe in and the change they brought to this world,” she told TheBlaze last December. “And here’s an American citizen standing up for his faith and rotting in an Iranian prison and yet there’s silence. And silence, for me, speaks volumes.”
Her comments apparently made an impact. Obama was subsequently vocal during a National Prayer Breakfast address in February when he said he’d do everything in his power to secure the release of Abedini, proclaiming, “Today, we call on the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini.”
And when Secretary of State John Kerry presented the State Department’s 2013 “International Religious Freedom Report” last month, he, too, spoke of Abedini‘s plight.
“In Iran, U.S. Iranian citizen Pastor Saeed Abedini remains imprisoned. The Iranian authorities sentenced him to eight years behind bars simply because of his religious beliefs,” Kerry said. “We will continue to call for his release and we will continue to work for it.”
Abedini continues to face physical challenges in the Iranian prison system, with little reprieve in sight.