Today is the day.
Imprisoned American Pastor Andrew Brunson’s trial is set to resume in Turkey.
The question is, will we finally see real justice? To date the proceedings have been more like a mock trial.
We told you how the first day of the trial back on April 16th took a grim turn. After 13 hours filled with video testimony of mysterious “secret witnesses” for the prosecution – whose voices were disguised almost to point of being indecipherable – the 3-judge panel made the bewildering decision to adjourn the proceedings another 3 weeks.
Then in a craven move, the judges shocked everyone by ordering Pastor Andrew back into the horrendous overcrowded prison facility where he was initially held after his arrest nearly 19 months ago. The same notorious institution where he rapidly lost an alarming 50 lbs.
We must never accept this treatment of our fellow U.S. citizen – our fellow brother in Christ. We’ve ramped up our efforts to put maximum pressure on Turkey, and we’ve asked the entire world to do the same. Thankfully, we’ve had a major development.
One of our international efforts on Pastor Andrew’s behalf involved the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. We requested that they investigate Pastor Andrew’s case. After our direct request, updates, and provision of the indictment, the Working Group notified us that they have indeed taken Pastor Andrew’s case, and sent a letter prior to Pastor Andrew’s first trial date to the Turkish government requesting that it refute the allegations that Pastor Andrew’s detention is arbitrary.
This is very big for Pastor Andrew, as the Working Group only accepts a limited number of cases each year, although thousands of requests are made from all over the world. The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention takes even fewer cases than the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s that difficult to even get a case heard. Now, they’ve taken up Pastor Andrew’s plight.
The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention is an independent panel of international human rights experts who investigate cases of arbitrary arrest and detention. As stated in the first article of their mandate, the group exists:
(a) To investigate cases of deprivation of liberty imposed arbitrarily or otherwise inconsistently with the relevant international standards set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or in the relevant international legal instruments accepted by the States concerned;
The first step in the Working Group’s investigative process is to have the matter brought to the attention of the Working Group. If the Working Group determines that there are sufficient allegations of arbitrary deprivation of liberty, they proceed to the next step of the process by contacting the government accused of arbitrarily detaining the citizen(s). The Working Group gives the government 60 days in which to refute the allegations made. If the government responds, its comments and observations regarding the case are sent to the person or group who made the allegations to provide them an opportunity to refute the government’s position. Finally, after considering all of the information, the Working Group adopts one of the following five opinions:
(a) If the person has been released, for whatever reason, following the referral of the case to the Working Group, the case is filed; the Group, however, reserves the right to render an opinion, on case-by-case basis, whether or not the deprivation of liberty was arbitrary, notwithstanding the release of the person concerned;
(b) If the Group considers that the case is not one of the arbitrary deprivation of liberty, it shall render an opinion to this effect;
(c) If the Group considers that further information is required from the Government or the source, it may keep the case pending until that information is received;
(d) If the Group considers that it is unable to obtain sufficient information on the case, it may file the case provisionally or definitively;
(e) If the Group decides that the arbitrary nature of the deprivation of liberty is established, it shall render an opinion to that effect and make recommendations to the Government.
The opinion is sent to the Government, together with the recommendations. 48 hours after this notification, the opinion is also conveyed to the source.
The opinions rendered by the Working Group shall be brought to the attention of the Human Rights Council in its annual report.
Governments, sources and other parties should inform the Working Group of the follow-up action taken on the recommendations made by the Working Group in its opinion. This will enable the Working Group to keep the U.N. Human Rights Council informed of the progress made and of any difficulties encountered in implementing the recommendations, as well as of any failure to take action.
While they don’t have authority over the Turkish court, if they find that Pastor Andrew’s human rights have been violated – which we are confident is not even in question – it will add immeasurable weight to the pressure already being applied on Turkey, and could ultimately result in tough sanctions if Pastor Andrew is not released.
66 U.S. Senators just sent a letter directly to Turkey’s President demanding Pastor Andrew’s immediate release. In addition, 50 Members of the European Parliament also just sent a letter to Turkey’s President calling for his release. President Trump who has previously called for Pastor Andrew’s release, echoed them again, tweeting he should be “allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs.”
This trial is a sham, and it has be resolved. We cannot tolerate any more haphazard delays. We won’t sit back while Pastor Andrew spends one more night in prison. He must be set free. He must be returned home to the arms of his wife and children.
We’re directly involved in his legal defense in Turkey. We’ve been obtaining witness statements in defense of Pastor Andrew from across the globe. We are aggressively working in Congress, with the State Department, the White House, the European Parliament, the European Council, and at the U.N. to fight for Pastor Andrew’s freedom. Be his voice with us.
As we aggressively fight for Pastor Andrew and other persecuted Christians, we urgently need your support. Chip in $5 or more today. Have your gift doubled through our Matching Challenge.
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