A Turkish court has denied an appeal for the release of an American pastor who was imprisoned for allegedly being a member of an armed terrorist organization, Christian News Network reports.
Pastor Andrew Brunson, together with his wife, Norine, were summoned by Turkey’s Interior Ministry on October 7th in Izmir. The couple has been living in Turkey for more than two decades preaching the gospel and the pastor imagined that the government would grant them permanent-resident status. Instead, they were detained for unspecified reasons.
In a phone interview with The Wall Street Journal, a lawyer of the Brunsons said, “What’s been frustrating is that no information has been given at any time.” The lawyer added that Pastor Brunson loves Turks and the country and had “zero issues for 23 years.”
On December 8th, the pastor was arrested and charged with “membership in an armed terrorist group.”
The American Center for Law Justice stated that “the charging documents do not present any evidence against him” nor did the court specify which “terror” organization Brunson supposedly joined.
A Turkish court on December 29th denied Pastor Brunson’s appeal for release.
Experts say Brunson’s case shows a growing climate of intolerance against Christians and other minority religious groups in Turkey.
“Turkish President Erdogan sees anti-Christian conspiracy theories as an effective strategy for galvanizing popular support for his one-man rule,” said Aykan Erdemir, a former member of the Turkish Parliament and a senior fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Christiannewsnet. (2017). Christian News Network. http://christiannews.net/2017/01/03/imprisoned-american-pastors-appeal-for-release-turned-down-by-turkey-court/
Sohrab ahmari. (2017). WSJ. http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-christian-pastor-in-turkeys-prisons-1483398559
Cbncom. (2017). CBNcom (beta). http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2017/january/turkey-refuses-to-release-jailed-american-pastor