ACLJ Makes Urgent Oral Presentation at U.N. for International Action to Free Pastor Andrew Brunson
At the time of this writing, that’s how long it’s been since American Pastor Andrew Brunson was initially arrested and has since been detained in Turkey.
That’s 704 days of being shuffled in and out of horrendous prison environments.
704 days of emotional and physical suffering.
704 days of wild, unfounded accusations leading to the charge of “Christianization” and now a sham trial, which could result in what amounts to a life sentence for Pastor Andrew.
This grave injustice has been permitted to go on far too long. It’s time the entire world demands that Turkey release this innocent American citizen and return him to the United States and loved ones.
We recently told you that we submitted a crucial submission at the U.N. on behalf of Pastor Andrew.
Now, we’ve just submitted a critical oral presentation at the U.N. urging a global intervention to pressure Turkey into honoring its obligations:
By detaining and imprisoning Pastor Brunson because of his religious expression, peaceful association, and assembly of religious believers, Turkey is violating not only its obligations under the U.N. Charter, but its own Constitution, as well as Pastor Brunson’s fundamental rights: freedom of religion and belief, freedom of expression, freedoms of peaceful assembly and association. Therefore, these violations concern not only Turkey, but every Member State and every agency of the U.N. Turkey has violated all of these protections by arresting and detaining an innocent pastor in prison nearly two years based on the hearsay testimony of secret witnesses.
We’ve told you how Pastor Andrew and his wife and children lived peacefully in Turkey for 23 years, leading a small Christian church, and interweaving their lives with the community. They came to love the land and its people – particularly their church members, treating them like family. According to Pastor Andrew’s sister, the Brunson’s made Turkey their home.
“Grilling out, picnics, swimming, game nights, movie nights…in so many ways the typical American family though living so far away. In some ways, I believe, living in Turkey has made them grow even closer as a family as they have had to rely so heavily on each other and establish their own traditions as they are in the religious minority.”
Until two years ago, when their world was turned upside down. Pastor Andrew has committed no crime, and it seems apparent this awful ordeal is just the nasty result of political paranoia and gamesmanship by Turkey.
As stated in our U.N. presentation:
Pastor Andrew peacefully lived out his religious beliefs in service to the people of Turkey for over two decades before being arrested and imprisoned on the grounds of ridiculous and baseless charges. Pastor Brunson’s ongoing trial in Turkey began on 16 April 2018. It is evident that this is a sham trial, and, as indicated by President Erdoğan’s multiple demands to swap Pastor Brunson for Fethullah Gülen, Pastor Brunson is undoubtedly a political prisoner being held as a bargaining chip for Turkey.
As we’ve reported, since this circus of a trial began back in April, Pastor Andrew has had to endure grueling long days of testimony from “secret witnesses” for the prosecution, and from so-called witnesses who readily admitted they didn’t even know the pastor.
And that’s during the only three actual trial dates that have transpired in the nearly 6 months since the trial began, due to the constant, unwarranted delays by the Turkish judges.
Pastor Andrew and his heartbroken family love Turkey, and devoted their lives to service there. He has repeatedly proclaimed his innocence, as quoted in our U.N. presentation:
“I have become a political bargaining chip—a hostage to use against the United States in negotiations. Let it be clear, I am in prison not for anything I have done wrong, but because of who I am — a Christian pastor.”
It is time for the international community to stand up and tell Turkey “enough is enough.” The freedom of an innocent American pastor, father, and husband is in jeopardy. We need maximum pressure on Turkey to stop this political gamesmanship, stop violating its own Constitution which claims to protect religious freedom, and let Pastor Andrew go.
Pastor Andrew and his family have suffered enough. We will not stop working on his behalf, aggressively fighting at home and across the globe until Pastor Andrew is home with his family once again.
But Turkey is not likely to act until it feels the weight of the entire world bearing down, demanding his release. That includes YOU.
It’s been 704 days too many. Add your name to the nearly 600,000 supporters who have signed our petition demanding Pastor Andrew’s freedom TODAY.