U.S. President Donald Trump has committed to work for the release of an American pastor who was been wrongfully imprisoned over terror charges in Turkey since October, according to a lawyer who represents his family.
On May 11, American Center for Law and Justice attorney Jay Sekulow met with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the case of Rev. Andrew C. Brunson, who has been falsely charged with supporting terrorism and imprisoned in Turkey since October. The lawyer told Fox News that the results of their meeting gave the American pastor's family a bit of hope.
"The president and vice president have taken a personal interest in resolving this," Sekulow told Fox. "They are fully engaged. The vice president has told me that he has been in talks with officials in Turkey."
In addition, Sekulow said he respectfully asked the president to mention Brunson's case during his upcoming meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The lawyer expressed confidence that the case will be resolved soon.
Rev. Brunson was summoned to a police station in Izmir and he went there on Oct. 7, thinking that he would finally receive his permanent residence card. However, he was arrested and told that he was to be deported because he was a threat to national security.
Brunson was charged with being a member of an "armed terrorist organization" after two months in detention and was handed a jail sentence. His family insists that the pastor is merely being held by Turkish authorities because of his faith.
While Brunson's case has yet to be resolved, Christians in Turkey already have another hurdle coming their way after a referendum last month gave Erdogan expanded powers over the country. A Muslim Turk who used to serve in the Turkish Parliament warned that the president's new powers spell bad news for Christians, Christian Broadcasting Network reports.
In an interview with Christian World News, Dr. Aykan Erdemir said there have been allegations and evidence of electoral fraud during the latest referendum in Turkey. He warned that Christians will face even more persecution if the referendum stands because Erdogan will be granted executive, judicial, and legislative powers. He also said the new development could spell doom for Pastor Brunson.