01/29/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Fr Sefer Bilecen is an Assyrian clergyman who recently faced his fourth hearing on January 27. Turkish authorities accused Fr Sefer of terrorism charges after he provided bread to a previously unknown man who arrived at the monastery he oversees. The man turned out to be a member of the terrorist organization, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Fr Sefer has now sent over a year facing these charges and was originally arrested on January 9, 2020. He was only temporarily imprisoned four days after his arrest due to Christians petitioning the authorities for his release. If he is convicted, he could receive two to 15 years in jail. The next court hearing has been postponed until April.
His arrest came after the alleged, and later repentant PKK member confessed. This confession remains the driving force against Fr Sefer’s potential conviction.
The Assyrian monk’s trial is one of many instances that has drawn international attention regarding Turkey’s violations and abuses against Christians.
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