Following more than 10 hours of testimony on April 16, EPC Teaching Elder Andrew Brunson was returned to prison as the judge delayed further hearings until May 7.
“I am very disappointed that Andrew was not released today,” said EPC Stated Clerk Jeff Jeremiah. “I just can’t imagine how discouraged Andrew and Norine are right now.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Andrew defended himself for five hours against the charges in the indictment.
“I don’t accept any of the allegations or accusations,” Brunson said in fluent Turkish. “I love Turkey. I’ve been praying for Turkey for 25 years. I want truth to come out.”
Following the close of proceedings on April 16, Bloomberg reported an apparent connection between the May 7 date and the scheduled sentencing of a Turkish banker convicted in January 2018 of taking part in a billion-dollar scheme to evade American sanctions against Iran. The banker—Mehmet Hakan Attila—was deputy general manager for international banking at a Turkish state bank. On April 9, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman rescheduled Attila’s sentencing from April 11 to May 7.
“We will continue to cry to God in prayer for our brother in Christ,” Jeremiah added. “As Andrew’s trial has drawn the attention of the U.S. and global media, we need to do all we can to keep the world’s attention on Andrew and his unjust imprisonment.”