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American Pastor Andrew Brunson is scheduled again for trial next month. Wrongfully detained in Turkey and denied due process rights for years, his story is stirring American and European government officials to action.
A U.S. citizen who pastored churches in Turkey for more than two decades, Brunson was arrested by Turkish authorities in October 2016 and held without charges for months. The North Carolina native was then kept in prison after being accused, without compelling evidence, of being a member of a terrorist group. A few months ago, an official indictment was filed by Turkish prosecutors, who are seeking a 35-year sentence for the American pastor.
Brunson’s April 16 trial, however, was delayed, and is now scheduled for July 18.
“Pastor Brunson is being mistreated in Turkey because of his faith in Christ,” noted NRB’s president & CEO, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson. “My prayers are with him and his family, and I urge the U.S. government to redouble its efforts to secure his release. It is intolerable for Pastor Brunson to suffer as a pawn of the Turkish government, which is supposed to be an American ally.”
With the new court date approaching, government representatives and religious freedom advocates continue to work on drawing attention to Brunson’s plight.
On Wednesday, Coptic Solidarity and Middle East Forum organized a rally in front of the White House to support Brunson.
Save the Persecuted Christians, one of the participating organizations, said the protest was a way for those concerned about Christian persecution to show solidarity with the imprisoned pastor and to shed light on the situation for Christians in Turkey under Erdoğan.
“The STPC Coalition continues to work diligently to disseminate actionable information about ways in which the American people can help those — like Pastor Brunson — who are being persecuted,” stated the coalition, of which NRB’s president is a member.