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Prayer requested for imprisoned American pastor in Turkey amid new accusations
Christians in Turkey have requested renewed prayer for American pastor Andrew Brunson who was imprisoned in the city of Izmir and is facing four consecutive life sentences on newly devised charges.
According to Christian religious freedom charity, Middle East Concern, on 24th August Brunson was connected by a video link from the maximum security prison where he is being held to a judge in the 2nd Criminal Court in Izmir.
According to the charity, the judge read out allegations from the chief prosecutor's office that Brunson had obtained confidential political and military information for espionage purposes, specifically to "overthrow" the Turkish Parliament and government and undermine the constitutional order of the state.
Brunson denied any such activity and reiterated that he is "a man of religion" whose aim is to tell about Jesus Christ.
Chairman of the Association of Protestant Churches (TeK), Ihsan Ozbek, labelled the accusations "absurd" and "political". He said neither Brunson nor his lawyers have had access to his file or any evidence submitted.
It is reported that Brunson is among those being considered for a possible prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Turkish governments.
Middle East Concern said he was originally arrested with his wife on 7th October 2016. They were told that they were to be deported as "a threat to national security".
His wife was subsequently released, but Brunson was held in an immigration detention facility until he was transferred to a prison in Izmir. The transfer came after a court appearance and allegations linking him to the Fetullah Gulen organisation, blamed for instigating the attempted military coup in Turkey on 15th July 2016.
Middle East Concern said Brunson has been deeply affected by these new allegations. The charity said Christians in Turkey request prayer for him and his family that:
- God will make His presence felt by Andrew and strengthen and console him
- God will keep Brunson's family from anxiety and discouragement in this difficult time
- Those engaged in negotiations for Brunson's release will have much wisdom
- Justice and righteousness will prevail in Turkey and that the officials involved in bringing false charges will be stopped
- Brunson will be released soon and be reunited with his family
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