The Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, D.C., will leave for Turkey on Sunday in an attempt to secure the release of persecuted American pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence in Iran because of his Christian beliefs, Charisma News reports. While in Turkey, Mahoney will meet with Iranian officials in attempt to secure a meeting in Tehran with President Rouhani and Iranian government leaders to discuss Pastor Saeed. "Around the world, every person should be afforded the right to express their faith traditions free from government persecution, harassment and intimidation," Mahoney said. "No one should have to suffer violence or brutality because of what they believe. I will be appealing to the new Iranian leadership, which has expressed a desire to have a more open and moderate attitude toward human rights and personal freedoms and work toward building better relationships with their global neighbors. On this historic mission, I will not be going as a representative of the United States government, but rather as a faith leader sharing the heart of Christ and calling upon Iran's leaders to show compassion and mercy and allow Saeed to return to his family in America. The power of faith transcends governments and leaders and can transform nations and societies. If I have the opportunity to meet with President Rouhani, I will not be speaking to him on a political level but rather as one faith leader to another."