N.C. Pastor Facing Charges in Turkey

An American Pastor Andrew Brunson is in grave danger. Pastor Andrew, a U.S. citizen has been arrested and imprisoned in Turkey on false charges of “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” Even the charging documents admit that no “evidence has been gathered” against him. This pastor has served the people of Turkey as a missionary who loves the Turkish people for twenty three years. Although Turkey is an American NATO ally; it has begun an increased offensive against Christians. If convicted, Pastor Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen from North Carolina could face years in prison based on extremely serious and false charges.

The American Civil Liberties Journal is representing the family. They are mobilizing international resources which include their offices in that region.  The ACLJ has been demanding Pastor Andrew’s freedom. His daughter Jacqueline pleaded, “The best Christmas present our family could receive this year is the release of my father.”   As we approach the season of hope and promise in Christmas, we know that people around the world will stand with Pastor Andrew in prayer. This article asks “will you be Pastor Andrew’s voice?” I ask you to support his fight for freedom and join us in urging Turkey to release him immediately. We must act quickly before it’s too late.

These are the facts as we know them:

The Pastor who is a U.S. citizen from Black Mountain, North Carolina was summoned to the local police station in Izmir, Turkey on the morning of October 7, 2016. He believed he would be receiving a long awaited permanent residence card.  Pastor Brunson, has been living in Turkey for 23 years, running a Christian church with the full knowledge of local authorities.

Upon arriving at the station, he was informed he was being deported based on reports he was a “threat to national security,” a common excuse for deportation in Turkey.  It became clear that he was being arrested and would be detained until deportation.  He was fingerprinted, searched, and had his phone, pen, etc. taken away.  He was denied a Bible.  But instead of being deported, he was held with no charges for 63 days, during which time he was denied access to his Turkish attorney.  He was placed in solitary confinement for part of this time, with his glasses and watch confiscated.

Then on December 8th, after being detained for 63 days, things took a dire turn.  In the middle of the night, Pastor Andrew was taken to a counter terrorism center in Izmir and then on to court.  He was questioned and has been falsely charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization.”  The charging documents state no “evidence has been gathered” against him. A Turkish judge had the option to deport Pastor Andrew, release him on weekly sign-ins at the local police station, or imprison him. The judge chose to send Pastor Andrew to prison.

This Pastor has quietly and faithfully been a pastor in Turkey for over 23 years.  He has raised his family in Turkey.  He has dedicated his life in service to the people of Turkey, who he loves the people of Turkey.  He has never been a member of an armed terrorist organization.  He is awaiting trial, but if convicted under these false charges, could face years of imprisonment.  His Turkish attorney has not even been allowed to review his case file. He is in great danger.

The ACLJ has mobilized their international offices, working with the U.S. State Department to free this U.S. pastor. In the past hundreds of thousands of readers joined with the ACLJ to free other Christian pastors from repressive regimes. Now Pastor Andrew urgently needs your voice. Demand his immediate release now.

His Turkish attorney is planning to file an appeal in 2 days. Pastor Andrew urgently needs your voice now. Join ACLJ’s  international legal advocacy effort and be heard by signing here. Demand American Pastor Andrew’s freedom today.

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