Still No Justice for Pastor Andrew Brunson as Turkish Judges Delay Trial Yet Again and Send Him Back to Prison
It’s an absolute outrage.
Turkey is playing political games with an innocent pastor’s life.
After the second day of trial – which came after a 3-week delay from the first day – the panel of judges has just thrown American Pastor Andrew Brunson back into prison – once again delaying the trial without any reasonable justification. This time, they’ve pushed the proceedings off more than 70 days – until July 18th.
The hearing, which lasted nearly 12 grueling hours, was more of the same frustrating antics we told you about that took place back in April. The first two witnesses were once again “secret.” They had no firsthand knowledge about any of their testimony; it was all completely hearsay and conjecture.
In fact, in what would have been stunning admissions in an American courtroom, all 7 witnesses testified that they had not personally seen or heard Pastor Andrew do anything.
This entire process has been simply absurd. The 62-page indictment against Pastor Andrew actually presents a picture of traditional Turkish food taken by his daughter when she was in college as incriminating evidence – essentially claiming it’s the kind of food enemies of the State would eat.
The name of the dish in the picture – Maklube – translates to “upside down.” An appropriate description of the legal proceedings we’re witnessing in Turkey.
It’s a complete and utter sham.
Pastor Andrew is innocent. This isn’t a real trial – it’s a show trial. He’s being held as a political prisoner because of his Christian faith.
We must not stand by while an innocent citizen is abused this way. That’s why we’ve called on the entire world to intervene.
We recently reported to you, as a result of our direct requests, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has agreed to take on his case. This is a big development for Pastor Andrew as the Working Group – an independent panel of international human rights experts who investigate cases of arbitrary arrest and detention – only accepts a limited number of cases each year. In fact they take fewer cases than the U.S. Supreme Court.
If they find that Pastor Andrew’s human rights have been violated, it could massively increase international pressure on Turkey and ultimately result in tough sanctions if he is not released. Between the almost 19 months he’s spent behind bars, the unwarranted trial delays, and the toll this has taken on him, we can’t see how they could reach any other conclusion.
We must continue keeping maximum pressure on Turkey. We told you how 66 U.S. Senators and 50 Members of the European Parliament have sent letters to Turkey’s President demanding Pastor Andrew's freedom. And President Trump who has already called for his release, echoed them, tweeting he should be “allowed to come home.”
We remain directly involved in his legal defense in Turkey. We’ve been obtaining witness statements in defense of Pastor Andrew from across the globe – witnesses that actually know him and his work. We continue to work aggressively 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.