10 October 2018
Andrew Brunson, the US pastor who has been imprisoned in Turkey since 2016, will attend yet another hearing on Friday 12 October - and could face 35 years in prison if convicted.
Andrew has been accused of terrorism and espionage charges which he has denied flatly, declaring in court: "I am an innocent man on all these charges. I reject them. I know why I am here. I am here to suffer in Jesus’s name."
Andrew’s lawyer, attorney Ismail Cem Halavurt, has filed a formal appeal before the Turkish Constitutional Court which calls for ‘urgent’ and ‘corrective’ action by Turkey’s highest court to set Andrew free after two years of incarceration.
In the legal brief submitted on 3 October, Halavurt argued that after residing in Turkey for more than two decades, the 50-year-old pastor had been arrested and held ‘unjustly’ for the past two years, adding that Andrew’s imprisonment has violated both Turkish criminal law and his constitutional rights of personal freedom and security. Up until July this year, Andrew had been held in prison – he was then moved to house arrest.
“There is no reasonable or acceptable legal reason for his freedom to be limited in such a way,” the appeal stated. “There is no possibility for the defendant to destroy evidence.”
The written indictment and initial three trial hearings in Andrews’s case consist entirely of individual witness testimony, given by a handful of Turkish prosecution witnesses, without documented pieces of solid evidence submitted.
Andrew’s imprisonment has caused considerable tension between the US and Turkey; the US government has placed sanctions on Turkey over the ‘sham allegations’ against him.
Halavurt told the Turkish media last week that although there were some interactions between Turkey and the US regarding the outcome of Friday’s trial hearing, “I am not sure they are sufficient to set Brunson free. “
But because the Constitutional Court follows its own legal procedures, the lawyer admitted that he could not expect a response from the top court for another month or two.
While the Bible says we shall face many troubles as Christians, our God is also a God of justice. Pray that His justice would reign supreme over Andrew’s trial on Friday, and that he will be released as a result.
- For Andrew, that God would strengthen him and that he would present himself on Friday in a way that glorifies God – and that ultimately he will be released
- For the judge and jury who will be overseeing the hearing, that they will be just and fair
- For the prosecutors, that they would be moved to drop the charges against him and come to know the love of God.
ANDREW BRUNSON'S CASE FROM THE BEGINNING:
18 Jan 2017: American pastor detained in Turkey
3 April 2017: Andrew makes plea to US President Trump: 'Don't leave me here in prison'
5 June 2017: No justice yet for American pastor
16 July 2018: Andrew Brunson approaches third hearing