A petition for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini, the American citizen currently serving eight years in prison in Iran, has reached nearly half a million signatures a day before an important congressional hearing concerning his case, the Christian Post reports. "This is a crucial moment and our best chance yet to spur the United States government into action," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice. "We need to send a message. We need 500,000 signatures to help save Saeed by the time I testify." The ACLJ, which is representing Pastor Saeed's wife and two young children in America, has been petitioning for the pastor's release ever since his imprisonment last year and subsequent trial in Iran, which the legal firm called a "sham." Sekulow will speak before the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday about Pastor Saeed and the persecution many Christians are facing in Muslim-dominated countries, and he hopes to inspire action from congressmen. To read more about Pastor Saeed's case and sign the petition, visit SaveSaeed.org.