Trial Date Nears for American Pastor Imprisoned in Turkey

A court date is set for Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey on Monday. Brunson is a U.S. citizen who pastored churches in Turkey for more than two decades. He was arrested by Turkish authorities in October 2016 and held without charges for months, and then he was kept in prison after being accused, without compelling evidence, of being a member of a terrorist group. Turkish prosecutors recently filed an official indictment and are seeking a 35-year sentence for the American pastor.

Brunson is a native of Black Mountain, North Carolina, and last month U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) announced that he met with his imprisoned constituent. Tillis declared, “There should be no mistake that Pastor Brunson is the victim of false accusations, and we call upon the Turkish authorities to honestly and transparently review his indictment. Pastor Brunson is being used as a political pawn by some elements of the Turkish government.” Tillis also noted that, while being strengthened by his faith in the Lord and love for his family, Brunson’s health has severely deteriorated during his incarceration.

“Now is the time for us to pray for Pastor Brunson,” said NRB president & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson. “He is suffering for his faith in Christ, and it’s long past time for Turkey’s leadership to release him.

“May the Lord bless the efforts of President Trump, Vice President Pence, Ambassador Brownback, and all in our government who are pressing with resolve for his release,” Johnson added.

Last month, as she appealed to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva for aid in seeking her father’s release, Jacqueline (Brunson) Furnari read a recent note from Pastor Brunson. “Let it be clear. I am in prison not for anything I have done wrong, but because of who I am—a Christian pastor,” he said. “I desperately miss my wife and children. Yet I believe this to be true: it is an honor to suffer for Jesus Christ, as many have before me. My deepest thanks for all those around the world who are standing with and praying for me.”

Learn more about the situation of Pastor Brunson here from the American Center for Law & Justice, which is representing his family.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: April 13, 2018


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