Turkish court rejects Pastor Brunson’s appeal for release

August 16, 2018

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, regrets the ongoing travesty of justice that is the Turkish government’s treatment of US Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson. This affair is confirmation of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)’s judgment in its 2018 Annual Report that Turkey is a Tier 2 violator of religious freedom — that is, a nation in which religious freedom violations are systematic, ongoing, and/or egregious.

We still hold out hope and continue our prayers that Turkey will realize the injustice of its position and act swiftly to reaffirm religious freedom and respect for the human rights of Pastor Brunson, as well as the human rights of all the Christians in that land, and move swiftly to redress the unjust situation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

“Turkish court rejects US pastor Brunson’s appeal for release,” Hürriyet Daily News, August 15, 2018:

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal for United States Christian pastor Andrew Brunson to be released from house arrest during his trial on terrorism charges.

Brunson’s lawyer, İsmail Cem Halavurt, filed the demand on Aug. 14 around a week after his previous appeal was rejected by the Turkish court in the western province of İzmir.

The 2nd Penal Court in İzmir rejected the appeal on Aug. 15 and sent the defendant’s petition to an upper court.

Brunson, who has been living in Turkey for more than two decades, was accused of helping supporters of the U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen who Turkish authorities say masterminded the 2016 coup attempt in which 250 people were killed.

He was also charged with supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the U.S.

The continued detention of Brunson has become a lightning rod in strained relations between Turkey and the U.S., leading Washington to slap economic and political sanctions on its NATO ally.

The pastor was released for house arrest on July 25. The court ordered him to wear an electronic bracelet at all times and barred him from traveling outside of the country….