Franklin Graham and Saeed Abedini Push for Release of U.S. Christian Pastor Andrew Brunson Imprisoned In Turkey

A Turkish judge sent Rev. Andrew Brunson to prison in Izmir Dec. 9, 64 days after the U.S. pastor and his wife, Norine, were detained on Oct. 7 under Interior Ministry deportation orders. (Courtesy)
A Turkish judge sent Rev. Andrew Brunson to prison in Izmir Dec. 9, 64 days after the U.S. pastor and his wife, Norine, were detained on Oct. 7 under Interior Ministry deportation orders. (Courtesy)

Evangelical preacher the Rev. Franklin Graham and Pastor Saeed Abedini, a former American hostage in Iran, are two of the prominent names who are rallying behind Pastor Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen held in a Turkish prison who was recently denied his appeal for freedom.

As the American Center for Law and Justice reported, Brunson has been held for over two months in Turkey, where he is facing the serious charge of being a member “of an armed terrorist organization.”

The law group has argued that the charge is “completely unfounded,” however, and that Turkish authorities have not presented any evidence against him.

The ACLJ added that Brunson, whose appeal against his imprisonment was recently denied, and who has been denied attorney-client privileges, is being held for his Christian faith.

Graham, who often speaks out against the persecution of Christians on his Facebook page, wrote on Saturday that he spoke with the pastor’s wife, Norine, and promised to help raise awareness for his plight.

“I ask that you join me in praying specifically for Pastor Andrew’s protection and release,” Graham said, in part.

“The Bible says, ‘Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering’ (Hebrews 13:3),” he added.

Abedini, who spent over three and a half years in Iranian prisons for his Christian faith before being freed in January 2016, made a similar plea for Brunson on his Facebook page.

“Today I am free but there is another American Pastor called Andrew Brunson who is in prison in Turkey for two months now and I know how much heart broken is in Christmas and New Year being in prison. I experienced four of these years in prisons. We need to remember him and his family in our prayers,” Abedini wrote to his supporters.

As the ACLJ further noted, Brunson and his wife have lived in Turkey for over 20 years. The pastor was summoned in October to discuss the couple’s application to renew their visas, but were instead arrested by police.

Norine was released 13 days later, but Brunson remains in custody with scarce access to U.S. consular officials.

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Stoyan Zaimov