DETROIT (WWJ) – Demonstrators took to the street in front of the Spirit of Detroit on Thursday. They’re asking for the release of Saeed Abedini, an Iranian Muslim turned Idaho pastor held in Iran for one year now. Pastor Abedini had gone back to his native Iran to visit family and spread his faith, but was arrested and thrown in jail without trial.

Pastor Frank Julian from Faith Christian, in Melvindale, says something has to be done.

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“We are demanding his freedom now. They released 11 prisoners and he was not one of them, and we want him to be in the next release. His wife came and spoke at my church, our congregation was deeply moved and we’re doing whatever we can to help bring about his release,” says Julian.

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AbediniRally2-092613Julian says that Abedini’s wife recently met with the Iranian U.N. delegation in New York City. Lois Kanalos, founder of Voice of the Persecuted, says pressure to get Abedini freed must come from the top.

“The more pressure that we put on Iran, the more likely that he will be freed. Just like Pastor Nadarkhani last year, when President Obama spoke his name and asked for his release the Iranian government released him a very short time after,” says Kanalos.

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Thursday was the one year anniversary of Abedini’s arrest.