In an outrageous miscarriage of justice, American Pastor Andrew Brunson’s trial just got a lot worse.
In a cruel show of abject hostility and blatant disregard for any semblance of the rule of law – proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that this trial is a completely and utter sham – the Turkish judges essentially threw out all the witnesses for Pastor Andrew’s defense.
We recently reported to you how over the course of 11 grueling hours, 7 witnesses for the prosecution (2 secret and 5 open – 2 of whom were prisoners and only 1 of whom had ever actually even met Pastor Andrew) were allowed to give testimony against him. When the Pastor’s Turkish attorney pointed out that one of these men had been convicted on 14 counts of fraud, the lead judge claimed he didn’t see how the fact was relevant. In fact, the judge said that all the prosecution witnesses’ statements would be taken as fact.
But when Pastor Andrew’s Turkish attorney then submitted his own list of witnesses for the defense, the head judge declared that anyone who was a suspect would not be allowed to testify. Even worse he disregarded the remaining witnesses for the pastor, stating that they wouldn't have anything relevant to say.
Essentially the message is they aren’t going to allow anyone to testify on Pastor Andrew’s behalf. This ruling can’t even be appealed until after it is put in writing– even more delays.
This isn’t justice. This is a sham, a show trial built on made up charges to imprison an American pastor because of his Christian faith. In fact, this isn’t a trial at all. It’s a hostage taking.
The judges then delayed the trial yet again – this time until July 18th. That’s over 2 months away, while Pastor Andrew continues to languish in a prison in Turkey.
Pastor Andrew is being held as a political prisoner. He has been charged with “Christianization.” He has committed no crime.
It’s an absolute outrage.
Turkey is playing political games with an innocent Christian pastor’s life. They’re dangling him while demanding the exchange of a Turkish cleric freely living in the United States.
Enough is enough.
We need the whole world to apply maximum pressure on Turkey – a supposed NATO ally. We told you how 66 U.S. Senators and 50 Members of the European Parliament sent letters to Turkey’s President demanding Pastor Andrew's freedom. President Trump has also called for his release, and recently tweeted he should be “allowed to come home to his beautiful family.” We must build on this momentum before it is too late.
We remain directly involved in his legal defense in Turkey. We continue to work aggressively in Congress, with the State Department, the White House, the European Parliament, and the European Council to fight for Pastor Andrew’s freedom. The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has agreed to take his case and we are hopeful they too will find this is a gross violation of his human rights.
This sham trial must end and he must be set free. Please join with over half a million supporters and sign the petition demanding his freedom.
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.
Last week I wrote about the atrocities committed by Turkey as it continues its invasion of northeastern Syria and its failure to keep the terms of the supposed ceasefire they pledged to the United States and the world. While Turkish and Russian troops in armored vehicles—purportedly to keep the...
The ACLJ’s affiliate, European Centre for Law and Justice’s (ECLJ) office in Pakistan, the Organization for Legal Aid (OLA), has started an Outreach and Awareness Campaign to reach out to the marginalized and poor Christian communities in Lahore and its surrounding rural areas. Our goal is to reach...
Wrongfully imprisoned Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has reportedly ended his three-week-long hunger strike in an Iranian prison. He was “protesting the regime's prohibition on his children’s ability to complete their education because they refuse to study Islam.” Pastor Youcef’s son Youeil was...
Pastor Bryan Nerren is a Christian Pastor in Tennessee. He is a loving husband, father, and grandfather, who also has a compassionate heart for others. He heads up the non-profit ministry Asian Children’s Education Fellowship, which has been training Sunday School teachers in India and Nepal for 17...