A court in Turkey has accepted a 62-page indictment against EPC Teaching Elder Andrew Brunson on terrorism-related charges. Prosecutors are asking for a 35-year prison sentence.
His trial is scheduled to begin April 16.
In a statement, Cece Heil of the American Center for Law and Justice—which is representing the Brunson family in legal and advocacy efforts—said the indictment is “wholly lacking merit” and “provides no evidence regarding criminal action by Pastor Andrew, which comes as no surprise. Incredibly, the indictment now admits that Turkey considers sharing the gospel an ‘act of terrorism.’”
Media reports indicate that the indictment charges Andrew with being an “executive” in the Gülen organization that Turkish President Erdoğan blames for the failed July 2016 coup attempt. Hurriyet News, the leading state-run media outlet in Turkey, reports Andrew is charged with committing crimes on behalf of terrorist organizations. In addition, the Global News Network is reporting that the indictment claims Andrew was using his position as a Christian minister to sow discord among the population, and sought to divide the nation and award authority of the result to the Gülenists and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which launched a separatist movement in 1984 and Turkey has designated a terrorist organization. An article in WorldWatch Monitor quotes Andrew’s Turkish lawyer, and explains the challenges Andrew’s defense team faces.
“I confess that I don’t understand how this all fits into God’s plan,” said Jeff Jeremiah, EPC Stated Clerk. “Please continue to pray for Andrew and Norine in light of this development, and that somehow God would use it for His glory and Andrew’s freedom.”