Friends of Andrew Brunson request prayer for the upcoming court hearing on 12 October when Andrew will answer charges related to espionage.
Andrew faces charges related to terrorism as well as espionage that could result in a 35-year prison sentence.The indictment is based on “evidence” supplied by secret witnesses, accusing Andrew of links to the FETO organisation (blamed for the 2016 coup attempt) and to the PKK – a Kurdish insurgent organisation.
There was initially widespread hope that Andrew would be released at the previous hearing on 18 July, but the judge ordered a continuation of his detention. Following an international outcry however, on 25 July the 2nd Criminal Court of Izmir ruled that Andrew could be released from prison and be kept under house arrest.
Andrew’s detention continues to be one of a number of problems in US-Turkey relations and the US has appealed multiple times for Andrew’s release. In response to Andrew’s case, the United States imposed sanctions against Turkey which have had a serious impact on the Turkish economy – the Turkish Lira has lost nearly 40% of its value this year.
On 2 October Andrew’s lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, took Andrew’s case to the Constitutional Court. It is hoped that the High Court will reject the fantastical claims against Andrew and rule for his release from house arrest.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed to the international audience that Andrew’s case is in the hands of an independent judiciary, but he had previously indicated a readiness to release Andrew as part of an exchange deal. In his recent address to parliament for the new legislative year, the president described Andrew as “a pastor who is being tried for his dark ties to terrorist groups”. Independent observers, however, remark on the political nature of the case.
Christians in Turkey request prayer that:
- the Lord will encourage and strengthen Andrew, and give peace to his family and friends
- Andrew will be well prepared and have much wisdom in his replies to the charges related to espionage at the next hearing
- Andrew will be released soon, despite the political complications
- the application to the Constitutional Court will help the judicial process so that justice will be done
- Christians in Turkey would not be intimidated but would maintain a clear witness.