American pastor Andrew Brunson will be released from a Turkish prison where he has been held since 2016. The church leader will be under house arrest until his next court date in October.
The 50-year-old from North Carolina has lived in Turkey for 23 years and leads a small Protestant church in Izmir.
Brunson was arrested in 2016 based on false accusations reportedly made by a Turkish convert from Islam who had at one time been a strong Christian but later fell away. He is accused of “espionage” and “committing crimes on behalf of terror groups”. It has been claimed he has links to both the secular Kurdish nationalist PKK organisation and the Islamist movement of Fethullah Gulen, the political rival of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exiled in the U.S. If convicted, he faces the possibility of 35 years in prison.
Brunson’s release from prison took place after Erdogan’s government came under increasing pressure from the U.S. over the plight of the pastor. It is hoped that the hearing in October will result in him being exonerated.
From Barnabas Fund contacts