The circumstances of Pastor Andrew Brunson’s imprisonment continue to worsen, as the prosecutor has asked that Pastor Brunson be harshly sentenced. Pastor Brunson has been imprisoned in Turkey for over a year on allegations that he conspired against national security. Secret testimony supposedly supports these charges, but Pastor Brunson’s lawyer has not had access to the prosecution’s alleged evidence. His imprisonment has been especially difficult for Pastor Brunson, who recently wrote a song expressing his “determination to follow the Lord even in [this] situation.”
10/13/2017 Turkey (Mission Network News) – The situation surrounding Andrew Brunson’s imprisonment in Turkey continues to be grim. In August, new charges were filed against the American pastor. Recently, the prosecutor raised the stakes when he asked for a particularly harsh sentencing.
Middle East Concern’s Miles Windsor says, “Realistically, this isn’t about prosecuting somebody who’s committed a crime. This is about gaining leverage from somebody who is seen as somebody of value.
“So, actually what’s being leveled at him is … very severe, and that’s four consecutive life sentences.”
At the end of September, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed suspicions that he was using Brunson as a political pawn. “They would like the Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen, returned to Turkey in exchange for Brunson,” Windsor explains.
President Erdogan blames Gulen for the 2016 coup attempt. Windsor says because it’s not actually a prisoner-for-prisoner exchange, it’s highly unlikely that the United States would hand Gulen over.
“It’s also the case that Andrew is in prison on completely false charges and it’s been clear since fairly early on that he was being used for this purpose.”
Similar charges have been filed against tens of thousands of other political prisoners arrested after the coup attempt. Among them are judges, soldiers, academics, and activists. Brunson is not the only American accused of being a part of the coup attempt, either. Many of these prisoners are still awaiting trial and sentencing.
“There’s huge amounts of injustice being perpetrated in Turkey at the moment and it’s Turkey’s great shame,” Windsor says.
But despite the darkness surrounding the situation, there is one believer making a profound statement to the glory of God—Brunson himself.
Middle East Concern recently received the written verses of a song Brunson wrote in prison. His wife gave permission to share it, hoping it would encourage other believers to continue to pray for her husband. Windsor says the song exemplifies Brunson’s desire to be pleasing to God and his “determination to follow the Lord even in [this] situation.”