A North Carolina pastor remains imprisoned in Turkey, two months after President Donald Trump urged the Turkish government to expedite his release and return him to the United States.
Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor from Black Mountain, was jailed on Dec. 9 on a false terrorism charge, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, a not-for-profit religious corporation based in Washington, D.C.
Brunson was held without charges since Oct. 7. He was imprisoned on Dec. 9 on “a serious, yet completely unfounded, charge – ‘membership in an armed terrorist organization,’ ” according to a statement by the center in late December. “In fact, the charging documents do not present any evidence against him.”
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In May, Trump raised Brunson’s incarceration when he met with Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, according to a May 16 news release from The White House Office of the Press Secretary. 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.”
Brunson’s wife, Norine Brunson, posted the news release on her and her husband’s Facebook page that day, while thanking their Facebook followers “for continuing to pray.”
Her most recent post, on July 14, asked for prayers that her husband “can find opportunities to walk in the little courtyard. He used to pace several hours a day but now that it is so hot the other men sit there, making it impossible for Andrew to walk.
“Pray for him to have victory spiritually even as he awaits actual release.”