US Christian pastor faces lifetime in prison in a muslim country over terrorism-related charges
Andrew Brunson, a Christian pastor who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, has been imprisoned for espionage.
His hearing has been scheduled for April 16, 2018. As reported by Faith Family America, the pastor could be sentenced to 35 years in prison if he was found guilty.
The Turkish Government believes that Brunson is part of a terrorist group who orchestrated a failed coup two years ago. The American government asked for Brunson to be freed.
According to Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, Brunson has been unjustly detained. Tiller said that Brunson has never been involved with political factions of any kind.
Brunson moved to Turkey in 1995, where he founded a local church. The pastor claims that his only goal in life is the spread Jesus' message.
The Turkish government believes his church is just a facade, and that Brunson was the leader of a terrorist group linked to the activities of a U.S based, Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen relocated to the states and has been living in Pennsylvania since 1997. As the leader of Islamic movement known as Hizmet, Gulen is believed to be the second most powerful man in Turkey.
His movement promotes a tolerant version of Islam and is focused on 'education, modesty, and altruism.' The Turkish government said Brunson will be released if the US hands over Gulen.
Brunson's daughter, Jacquelin Brunson, has since reached out to the public, and called the charges against her father 'absurd.' She feels that the Turkish government should not be allowed to get away with this.
"Having grown up in Turkey, it has been hard for me to understand the situation. My family loves and respects the Turkish people, and my father has been dedicated to serving them for over two decades."
Jacquelin Brunson, Faith Family America, March 22, 2018.