Andrew Brunson has been charged in Turkey with membership in an armed terrorist organization and sent to prison by the officiating judge. Brunson, an EPC teaching elder and member of the Presbytery of the Mid-Atlantic, had been held without charge in a detention center in Turkey since October 7. He was interrogated without notice on December 9 and imprisoned.
The Brunson family has retained the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is active in defending persecuted Christians around the globe, as their legal counsel and leaders of the public campaign for Andrew’s release.
In a statement, ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said Brunson is “facing grave danger in a Turkish prison where he is being held simply because of his Christian beliefs,” adding that if convicted, he could face many years in prison based on extremely serious—but false—charges.
At the time of Brunson’s detention in October, his activities were considered by the Turkish government to be “against national security.” However, no other reason was given for Andrew’s incarceration and no formal charges had been filed against him.
As of December 8, he had been held without charges for 63 days. In more than two months of detention, Andrew has been permitted only two U.S. consular visits.
The U.S. State Department, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and other U.S. government officials have been working with EPC leaders to gain Brunson’s release.
The Brunson family issued a statement December 14 in which they thanked those working to secure Andrew’s freedom. “We will not rest until Andrew is free,” they said. “We’re grateful for the support of the ACLJ and others who are working to demand that Turkey release Andrew without delay.”
The Brunsons have lived in Turkey since 1993, where he has been the pastor of two churches. At the time of his detention, the Brunsons had been trying for five months to renew their resident visas but had not received any response.
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church firmly believes that Andrew Brunson’s detention is unfounded. The Brunsons have absolutely no connection to any armed terrorist organization in the country where he has lived peacefully for more than 20 years and where they raised their three children.
Andrew’s daughter, Jacqueline, who attends college in North Carolina, said the family is shocked by the charges against him and urged the Turkish government to release him immediately.
“It is both troubling and disturbing that my father, who has called Turkey home for the last 23 years, is imprisoned without cause,” she said. “I grew up in Turkey and saw firsthand how much he loves Turkey and the Turkish people. He has exhibited nothing but love, mercy, and grace during his time there. The best Christmas present our family could receive this year is the release of my father.”
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I will pray reverently and feverently for Andrew Brunson’s immediate release to his family. How horrible to be incarcerated unjustly in another country even if you have lived there 23 years, especially if you have lived there 23 years. My prayer is for the officials of the Turkish government to see his innnocence and perprotrate his immediate release.
This awful to hear. My heart goes out to Andrew and his family. Praying for them all during what is persieved as uncertainty. Care abundantly for them Father, physically, spiritualy & emotionally.
Release him from within the walls of his capturer. Soften the authorities heart and open their ears & mind to hear the truth. Release him to his family. Amen.
We are praying fervently for Andrew’s release. May the Lord hold you all safely in his mighty hand during this time. We await any news, rejoicing in a God who moves mountains and directs every detail – the God who saves.
We are saddened by this news regarding Pastor Brunson’s imprisonment. Our prayers go forth to the Father on his behalf and for his family. I am sure God can and will use this to His glory.