Assyrian Priest’s Trial Postponed to November

10/03/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) –  An Assyrian-Turkish priest accused by the authorities of terrorism has had his trial postponed until November 3rd. Father Sefer Bileçen faces these charges after the government accused him of providing food and water to the PKK, and failing to report the identities of these individuals following their appearance at Mor Yakup Monastery.

The indictment against the priest accuses him of having membership within the PKK, which is an internationally recognized terrorist group. Father Sefer says that he does not know these individuals but it is within his practice to offer refreshments to anyone who appears at the monastery out of conviction of Christian charity. The court has decided that journalists cannot attend his hearing on November 3rd.

Christians are a constant causality of the Turkish-PKK conflict. Since the PKK is a terrorist group, Christians cannot safely deny their requests should these members appear on their doorstep. Meanwhile, Turkey is quick to accuse anyone of membership with the PKK. This tension has caused many Assyrian Christians to leave southeast Turkey, where Father Sefer currently lives.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: press@persecution.org. 

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