After the second hearing of Pastor Andrew Brunson’s trial on May 7, 2018, a Turkish court ruled to keep him behind bars until the next hearing scheduled for July 18, 2018. The ruling came after a secret witness accused Brunson of helping a terrorist organization and planning to create a Christian Kurdish state. Reports claim that secret witnesses are testifying via a video link with their faces blurred and voices altered.
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Andrew repeatedly denied the prosecutor’s charges that he was involved with terrorism and espionage. Brunson said in his defense,
“I am helping Syrian refugees, they say that I am aiding the PKK. I am setting up a church, they say I got help from Gülen’s network.”
There is not one photograph or tape recording praising the PKK at the (Izmir) Resurrection Church. Our church had several Turkish followers. Our doors were open to everyone. I strived to prevent politics entering the church.”
“My service that I have spent my life on, has now turned upside down. I was never ashamed to be a server of Jesus, but these claims are shameful and disgusting.”
Brunson’s lawyer said that when a case lacks evidence, ‘it’s kind of become the custom’ to use secret witnesses that have no credibility or link to reality.
Three witnesses for Andrew’s defense were not permitted to testify on the grounds that they were also suspects in the case.
USCIRF Vice Chair, Sandra Jolley said the proceedings “were dominated by wild conspiracies, tortured logic, and secret witnesses, but no real evidence to speak of.”
“Worse still, the judge’s decision at the conclusion of today’s hearing to dismiss all of the witnesses called by Pastor Brunson’s defense without listening to a single minute of their testimony is simply unconscionable.”
“The truth is that this case is part of a larger decline in personal freedoms, including religious freedom and human rights, that we are witnessing in Turkey in recent years,” she said. “We are looking to the Turkish judiciary to uphold pastor Brunson’s innocence,” she stated.
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) strongly condemned a new indictment issued by Turkish prosecutors this week.
“USCIRF urges President Trump and others in the administration to redouble their ongoing efforts to secure Pastor Brunson’s release. No stone should be left unturned in our efforts on behalf of this unjustly imprisoned American. We call again for his immediate release and, if this is not forthcoming, for the administration and Congress to impose targeted sanctions against those involved in this miscarriage of justice,” said USCIRF Vice Chairs Sandra Jolley and Kristina Arriaga. Read full press release here
66 U.S. Senators and 50 Members of the European Parliament have sent letters to Turkey’s President demanding Pastor Andrew’s freedom.
It’s very disappointing for the many hoping and praying for his release. Some may also be struggling with the reason his imprisonment is being allowed. However, we will not lose hope knowing our God is with Andrew and trust His plan for his future.
After the hearing Andrew’s wife shared,
Again, the Spirit of the Lord was on him to speak the truth clearly and have a good testimony during the 10 hour hearing. So glory to God and thank you for your prayers! It was very encouraging to have three members of USCIRF there, as well as Charge D’Affaires Phil Kosnett. Also, a number of believers and pastors, including from our home church. I know that meant a lot to Andrew.
Unfortunately, the next hearing is not until July 18.
On the way back we drove by a convoy of at least four vehicles – that much security was most likely Andrew being transported back to the Buca prison. That was a relief, but also so very sad and hard to drive by… Just like in the courtroom, so close, but so far…
So many prayers from so many places, so much fasting. This is not in vain. Surely a very big work of God is coming from this huge wave – really a tsunami – of prayer. THANK YOU!
During his imprisonment, Andrew wrote a song calling ‘worthy of my all’.
You are worthy, worthy of my all
This is my declaration in the darkest hour
Jesus, the Faithful One who loves me, always good and true
You made me yours, you are worthy of my all
I want to be found worthy to stand before you on that day
With no regrets from cowardice, things left undone
To hear you say, “Well done, my faithful friend, now enter your reward”
Jesus, my joy, you are the prize I’m running for
We believe the Lord is giving our brother Kingdom opportunities, as He has with others since the beginning of our faith. We pray God will comfort Andrew, his wife and family as they wait for the next hearing. We also ask for guidance and strength to endure, and supernatural joy to fill their hearts. In Jesus name, Amen
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