The wife of a North Carolina Christian preacher imprisoned in Turkey since December prays President Donald Trump will soon help free him.
Norine Brunson, wife of Black Mountain preacher Andrew Brunson, said on Facebook that Trump is scheduled to meet with Turkey’s president sometime this week.
“May our case come up and find favor,” Norine Brunson said. “Please pray that President (Recep) Erdogan would use the authority he was given by a new decree to return prisoners to their home countries on Andrew’s behalf!
“May the Lord deliver us from fear and give us peace.”
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Turkish authorities recently leveled more “false and ridiculous” charges against the preacher, according to the American Center for Law and Justice.
Brunson was originally jailed on Dec. 9 on a false terrorism charge, according to the not-for-profit religious corporation based in Washington, D.C. He was held without charges since Oct. 7.
He also was recently charged with “gathering state secrets for espionage, attempting to overthrow the Turkish parliament and government, and to change the constitutional order,” The Wall Street Journal reported, quoting the local Anadolu Agency.
“These ‘new’ charges, coming 322 days after his initial arrest in October of last year, are obviously just as false and ridiculous as the original charge of membership in an armed terrorist organization,” the American Center for Law and Justice said. “Disturbingly, the new charges are even more serious than the original charge and carry stiff sentences, if convicted.
“Furthermore, Pastor Andrew’s file continues to remain sealed, making it impossible to defend against the unknown.”
Brunson repeated to the judge hearing his case that he has been in Turkey for 23 years “for one purpose only. To tell about Jesus Christ,” according to the center.
The latest charges came a day before President Erdogan announced two new emergency decrees giving him “a slew of new powers,” the center said.
In May, Trump raised Brunson’s incarceration when he met with Erdogan, according to a May 16 news release from the White House. Trump asked that the Turkish government “expeditiously” return Brunson to the United States, according to the release.
Trump met with Erdogan “to discuss how to further strengthen the deep and diverse relationship between our two countries,” the White House statement said.
“President Trump reiterated the commitment of the United States to the security of our NATO ally Turkey and the need to work together to confront terrorism in all its forms.”
In his speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, Trump praised Turkey for accepting refugees, but he made no mention of Brunson’s imprisonment.
In a recent statement, the American Center for Law and Justice said Brunson “has been unjustly separated from his family for far too long. He should not have to endure even one more day in a Turkish prison. He should be released immediately and returned to the United States to be reunited with his family.”