Earlier this week, one of North Carolina’s U.S. Senators, Thom Tillis, was able to visit American Pastor Andrew Brunson in the Turkish prison. Senator Tillis has been following the situation of his constituent very closely, and was able to arrange a visit, which was very timely, following the recent indictment. The indictment against Pastor Andrew is a 62-page document which claims that his crime is “Christianization” acting as “an agent of unconventional warfare” under the “mask of an evangelical church pastor.”
It is now clearer than ever that Turkey is targeting Pastor Andrew specifically because of his Christian faith.
The indictment goes on to give accounts from “secret witnesses,” one of whom is code named “Dua,” or “Prayer,” who gives his interpretation of Christianity. Within the roughly 25 pages containing his preposterous allegations, he opines that “In the Christian faith; the beginning of the battle known as Armageddon is mentioned.” He goes on to say that Protestants believe that President Erdoğan is the antichrist and that American Protestants are “counting on being forerunners in the war to come . . . .” He further states that the war will be initiated by Israel, and that Protestants believe that “all humans are slaves of the sons of Israel and Protestants.” Dua’s account makes up almost half of the entire indictment and lacks any substance or evidence to support any of his ridiculous claims.
Furthermore, such claims are not only a gross mischaracterization of Christianity, but offensive. Pastor Andrew has spent over 23 years of his life peacefully serving the people of Turkey as a Christian pastor, and should not be imprisoned for simply living out his faith.
But Pastor Andrew remains in prison, now for almost a year and a half, desperately missing his family. He is currently preparing for his first trial date on April 16th. We will continue working on Capitol Hill, with the State Department, and the White House to secure his release. In addition, we’re urging the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to intervene in the case.
Please join with us as we continue to demand Pastor Andrew’s release, as well as thanking Senator Tillis for standing by Pastor Andrew in this critical time.
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