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ICC Note: Yesterday continued the second part of imprisoned American Pastor Andrew Brunson’s trial. The trial lasted for hours, and Pastor Brunson was denied the opportunity to have his three witnesses testify on the grounds that they are also suspects. The trial is scheduled to continue in July and Pastor Brunson will remain in prison during the coming weeks.              

05/08/2018 Turkey (MEC) – Christians in Turkey request further prayer for Andrew Brunson following his second court hearing on 7 May.

The court listened to the testimonies of witnesses, but three of the witnesses submitted by the defense were refused permission to testify on the grounds that they were also suspects in the case. According to journalist Barbara Baker, who was present at the hearing, Andrew and the lawyer were very strong and articulate. Andrew was clearly encouraged by the presence of a number of familiar faces in the courtroom as local church leaders attended in a show of support.

Andrew commented on the claims made against him of aiding the Kurdish separatist organisation PKK saying, “My service that I have spent my life on, has now turned upside down. I was never ashamed to be a server of Jesus but these claims are shameful and disgusting.”

Another person present at the hearing said that Andrew and his lawyer clearly demonstrated that the allegations are false and that Andrew’s continued detention can only be political.

Sandra Jolley, vice chair of the U.S. government Commission on International Religious Freedom, who also attended the trial said,“The American public and Congress have been very patient, every day that Andrew Brunson spends here imprisoned is a day when the standing of the Turkish government diminishes in the eyes of not just the U.S. but the entire world.”

On 4 May fifty Members of the European Parliament submitted a letter to President Erdogan calling for Andrew’s release in accordance with European and International commitments of the Republic of Turkey in regard to freedom of religion, to the prohibition of arbitrary detention, and to the right to a fair trial. The Turkish Foreign Minister responded that the government was powerless to do anything and that it was in the hands of the judiciary.

The date of the next hearing is set for 18 July.

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