We've been telling you that the case of imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson has reached the highest levels of the U.S. government. Last night, President Trump took to Twitter directly calling on Turkey and asking that "Pastor Andrew" "be allowed to come home," stating that he is "being persecuted in Turkey for no reason."
The president's tweet, displaying his dismay at how Turkey, our supposed NATO ally, has falsely charged pastor Andrew, an innocent U.S. citizen, is an important step in increasing diplomatic pressure on Turkey.
Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason. They call him a Spy, but I am more a Spy than he is. Hopefully he will be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2018
As we told you, earlier this week in a disheartening twist of events in the first day of imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson's trial, he was sent back to a horrible prison as his trial was delayed.
After a grueling first day—nearly 13 hours where "secret witnesses" testified via video link with their faces and voices obscured to the point of being almost incomprehensible—the Turkish judge ordered pastor Andrew to be returned to prison.
Worse, it was not the one he'd been held at prior to the trial, but the barbaric, overcrowded prison where he was first placed after his arrest. The last time he was held in that institution it took a severe toll on his health and well-being, causing him to lose over 50 pounds.
To everyone's dismay, the judge then decreed that the trial would not resume until May 7, three weeks later.
These shocking moves surprised and infuriated everyone watching, including U.S. Senator Thom Tillis and the U.S. ambassador at large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, who were both present in the courtroom in Turkey for his trial. In fact, Ambassador Brownback remained in Turkey to continue high-level diplomatic efforts to secure pastor Andrew's release.
No American citizen should be treated this way. Delaying the trial and relegating pastor Andrew back to this much worse prison is an escalation of his case.
Make no mistake about it, pastor Andrew is being held hostage. He is on trial because of his Christian faith. The 62-page indictment submitted by the prosecution accuses him of the "crime" of "Christianization," equating it to an act of terror.
If convicted, he faces 35 years in a Turkish prison—which, for 50-year-old pastor Brunson, is essentially a life sentence.
We are intensifying our efforts and fighting even harder to secure his freedom. We must increase the diplomatic pressure on Turkey. The world is watching this clear human rights violation. No NATO ally can be allowed to continue wrongfully imprisoning an innocent U.S. citizen.
We are grateful to President Trump for increasing the pressure on Turkey to free this innocent pastor. The next three weeks are critical as we fight for his freedom.
We're directly involved in directing his legal defense in Turkey. We are obtaining witness statements in defense of pastor Andrew from across the globe. We are aggressively working in Congress, with the State Department and the White House, and at the U.N. to fight for pastor Andrew's freedom.
He needs your voice now more than ever.
For the original article, visit aclj.org.
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