World American pastor Andrew Brunson goes on trial in Turkey, denies terror links

23:05  16 april  2018
23:05  16 april  2018 Source:   FOX News

US pastor on trial for alleged terror ties, spying in Turkey

  US pastor on trial for alleged terror ties, spying in Turkey An American pastor imprisoned in Turkey is going on trial in a case that has increased tensions between Washington and Ankara. Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, is facing 35 years in prison on charges of "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member" and "espionage." Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, is facing 35 years in prison on charges of "committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member" and "espionage." The trial begins Monday in western Izmir province.

Turkey Jails American Pastor . by Uzay Bulut January 23, 2017 at 4:00 am. American Pastor Andrew Brunson , pictured with his wife Norine, has been jailed in Turkey on spurious charges of "being a "No trial date has been set. In recent days, the court has denied an appeal," Kapp said.

FILE - In this undated file photo, Andrew Brunson , an American pastor , stands in Izmir, Turkey . Brunson has been charged in Turkey with engaging in espionage and having links to terror groups, crimes that carry a potential sentence of up to 35 years in prison, Turkey ’s

A gaunt and reportedly demoralized American pastor detained in Turkey pleaded his innocence in a courtroom on Monday, denying charges he committed military espionage and that he’s aligned with a terrorist group. He faces a possible 35-year sentence, if convicted.

"I am a Christian pastor,” Andrew Brunson said during the hearing. “I did not join an Islamic movement. Their aims and mine are different."

The Turkish government has charged the 50-year-old American of being a terrorist. But his attorneys claim the Christian minister, who has shepherded a small church in Turkey for 23 years, is a political pawn.

Turkey's Erdogan says U.S. should look at its own actions if it wants jailed pastor freed

  Turkey's Erdogan says U.S. should look at its own actions if it wants jailed pastor freed President Tayyip Erdogan said the United States should look at its own actions if it wants the return of an American Christian pastor who has been jailed in Turkey for suspected links to a 2016 failed coup. © REUTERS Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses a news conference at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Erdogan made the comment in a live interview with broadcaster NTV.

An American pastor who says he has been improperly detained and held in Turkey since October 7, 2016, due to […] But Brunson ’s 19-year-old daughter, Jacqueline, denies that her dad had any involvement with – Man Claims He Went to Heaven and Met Jesus During Near-Death Experience.

American Pastor Andrew Brunson has now been officially charged, facing what amounts to life in prison, as his trial begins in just weeks. Incredibly, the indictment now admits that Turkey considers "Christianization" to be an act of terrorism .

"How could [Turkey], with a straight face, put forth this indictment that they know...we're going to read and see right through their scam that they have nothing on Pastor Brunson,” said CeCei Heil with the American Center for Law and Justice, which is helping to represent Brunson. “He has done nothing. He is an innocent pastor who has simply lived out his faith in Turkey."

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Fox News

The Turkish Government has accused Brunson of being a co-conspirator of the exiled Turkish Imam – Fethullah Gulen. Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan said Gulen orchestrated the failed coup attempt in 2016, from his home in Pennsylvania.

Part of the 62-page indictment against Brunson cites secret witnesses and covert espionage tactics. It reads, in part, that he's guilty of, "committing crimes on behalf of the organization despite not being a member of the organization, and disclosing State information that must remain confidential for political or military espionage."

Trump calls for release of jailed pastor in Turkey

  Trump calls for release of jailed pastor in Turkey President Trump on Tuesday called on Turkey to release an American pastor being held prisoner there, arguing that "I am more a Spy than he is.""Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason," Trump tweeted.

The pastor was detained in October, accused of belonging to an armed terrorist organization.

A Christian pastor in Turkey – American Pastor Andrew Brunson – has been arrested and imprisoned on false terrorism charges because of his Christian faith. Turkey – our NATO ally – has begun increased crackdowns on Christians.

Turkey has filed extradition papers with the U.S. against Gulen, which are still being reviewed.

The State Department has called the charges against Brunson ridiculous and has asked for his release.

President Trump and Vice President Pence have both brought up Brunson's case with President Erdogan, asking for his release. The U.S. has a team in Turkey observing the trial. It includes former Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, the U.S. Ambassador at Large for Religious Freedom.

"The administration is deeply concerned about this case,” Brownback said. “We completely believe factually he is innocent."

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., a member of the Armed Services Committee, is part of the team in Turkey.

“This pastor was in the United States after the coup and after Erdogan was rounding up people all across the country,” he told Fox News last Friday. “Does anybody really believe that he would have traveled back to a country that he felt like he could have been swept up into that?"

Meanwhile, the year and a half of imprisonment has taken a personal toll on Brunson and his family.

“He's demoralized because he's been in prison for months even though he's innocent,” said Ismail Cem Halavurt, his Turkish defense attorney. “He missed his daughter's wedding, he missed his child's graduation. He is demoralized for staying in prison for so long despite not having committed a crime."

His daughter, Jacqueline Furnari, said her father feels broken and very confused, but that his faith has been strengthened.

"He's been digging into his relationship with God," she said, "and then giving everything to him and saying God my life is in your hands your will be done and this is all to your glory."

U.S. megachurch pastor retires, says investigation that cleared him took its toll .
<p>Bill Hybels, the founder of one of the largest evangelical megachurches in the United States and a former spiritual adviser to Bill Clinton, retired early on Tuesday, saying an investigation that cleared him of misconduct had taken its toll.</p>Leaders at Willow Creek Community Church in a northwest suburban of Chicago said two weeks ago they had cleared Hybels of wrongdoing after an investigation found that allegations of misconduct against several women were untrue.

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