by Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews.com
An American Protestant pastor who has spent 21 months imprisoned in Turkey will not be allowed to return home yet, despite encouraging signs late last month and public demands by President Donald Trump.
Andrew Brunson was first arrested in October 2016 as part of a crackdown against political opponents of the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after a failed coup attempt. The arrests ensnared “(t)ens of thousands of teachers, politicians, police officers, journalists, and others were arrested or fired from their jobs in retaliation,” according to the LA Times. Brunson had worked in Turkey for 20 years beforehand.
He was put on trial for the crime of “Christianization,” with a Turkish judge attempting to link the North Carolina pastor to a political movement launched by Muslim Muhammed Fethullah Gülen and accusing him of helping members of the Kurdish Workers’ Party escape the country. The Turkish government considers both to be terrorist groups.
“Let it be clear, I am in prison, not for anything that I have done wrong, but because of who I am — a Christian pastor,” Brunson has said. “I desperately miss my wife and children. Yet I believe this to be true — it is an honor to suffer for Jesus Christ as many have before me. My deepest thanks to all those around the world who are standing with me and praying for me.”
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