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Turkey imprisons American pastor for ‘terrorism’

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A pastor and North Carolina native is being held in Turkey on unsubstantiated charges of terrorism related activity.

After more than 20 years of serving as an evangelical missionary in Turkey, Andrew Brunson, 48, thought he was being summoned to receive a long-awaited permanent residence card. Instead, Brunson was notified that he was being deported based on being a “threat to national security.” He was held for 63 days while being denied access to an attorney—and even denied access to a Bible.

Brunson was then taken to a counter-terrorism center in Izmir and then taken to court, where he was accused of having ties to an American-based cleric, Fetullah Gulen, who is being blamed for a July coup attempt.

According to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), an organization that is representing Brunson’s family, the Turkish court had the option to deport Pastor Brunson, release him with the condition that he sign-in with local authorities weekly, or imprison him. The judge decided to keep him in prison.

“The government of Turkey—led by an Islamic party—has begun increased crackdowns on Christians,” said Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ, “and Pastor Andrew, if convicted, may face years in prison based on extremely serious—and false—charges. We are launching a global campaign to call attention to his plight demanding that Turkey— a NATO member—release Pastor Andrew without delay.”

There is a petition that you can sign, and when commenting on this situation on social media you can include the hashtags #freeAndrewBrunson and #SaveBrunson.

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Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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