On 9th December Andrew Brunson, the pastor of Izmir Resurrection Church who has been detained since early October, was brought before a court in Izmir for questioning.
At the hearing the judge referred to allegations that Andrew was connected to the Fetullah Gulen movement, which is alleged to have been behind the attempted military coup in Turkey on 15th July*. The court ordered that Andrew be imprisoned on the grounds that he is linked to a terrorist organisation. This accusation is based on the testimony of a “secret informant”.
Andrew, a US citizen, was arrested with his wife Norine on 7th October. They were told that they were to be deported as “a threat to national security”. Norine was subsequently released but Andrew was held in an immigration detention facility in Harmandali, Izmir until the hearing on 9th December.
Andrew’s lawyer was able to meet her client for the first time at his court appearance, but the court ruled that the files on Andrew’s case would be inaccessible to her. Andrew was then transferred to a prison in Aliaga, Izmir.
Andrew and Norine have been resident in Turkey for 23 years.
Since the attempted coup on 15th July there has been a widespread crackdown to apprehend plotters and their supporters. Turkish authorities have removed more than 100,000 people from their jobs and more than 40,000 people (including MPs from an opposition party, judges, prosecutors, military personnel, journalists and teachers) have been detained on terrorism charges.
MAY BE CIRCULATED TO GENERAL MAILING LISTS AND OUTSIDE ORGANISATIONS, AND QUOTED FROM FREELY IN REPORTS CITING “MIDDLE EAST CONCERN” AS THE SOURCE OF THE INFORMATION.
Friends of the Brunsons request prayer that:
a. Andrew will be strengthened and encouraged during his imprisonment, and that Norine and their children will be comforted
b. the accusations against Andrew will be clearly repudiated
c. Andrew will soon be released from detention
d. if Andrew and Norine are to be deported, this will happen without further undue delay
e. Christians in Turkey will not be intimidated by these and other recent pressures