Free Andrew

Andrew and Norine Brunson

FREE ANDREW – who is currently being held in a Turkish jail

 

Izmir church

Christian pastor Andrew Brunson (above left) has lived and worked in Turkey for the past 23 years and, with his wife Norine (above right – looking at the detention centre where her husband has been held), has helped in the ministry of the Izmir Resurrection Church on the west coast. As a couple they have a deep love for, and commitment to, the Turkish people.

Andrew was cautiously optimistic when Turkey’s Interior Ministry summoned him on October 7, 2016. Both he and his wife had been praying for a long time that they would be granted permanent resident status by the Turkish authorities.  The summons, however, was not their expected answer to prayer; instead they were arrested and detained.

Although Norine was released after two weeks, Andrew was held in Harmandali Immigration Detention facility for a further two months, including two days in solitary confinement. On December 8, last year, he was transferred to a counterterror centre, brought before a judge the following day, charged and then imprisoned on the grounds of being linked to a terrorist organisation. The charge was based on the testimony of a ‘secret informant’. He was then taken to Izmir’s Sakran 3 Nolu T Tipi Prison.

Andrew and Norine in happier times

Andrew and Norine in happier times

In the past four years, at least 100 pastors serving in Turkey have been forced to leave due to government refusal to renew visas or other permits, according to Turkey’s Association for Protestant Churches. Turkey has accused a number of pastors of being ‘a threat to national security’.  Recently Ryan Keating, a ministry leader and doctoral student living in Turkey with his family for a decade, was deported and banned from the country for life. With Andrew’s arrest and imprisonment, however, the Government appears to be using the current political situation in Turkey as an opportunity to try to impede the growth of Christianity and Christian churches in Turkey. Andrew’s case would seem to be part of a growing climate of intolerance against Christians and other minority faiths in Turkey.

In Andrew’s case the charge against him infers that he has ties to the Gulen movement, whose followers are blamed by the Turkish Government for attempting a coup on July 15. Since the failed coup, Turkey has gone after several groups in an attempt to prosecute the Gulen movement. Release partner, Middle East Concern (MEC), recently reported that more than 40,000 people, including opposition party politicians, military personnel, journalists and teachers had been arrested since July 2016.

On December 29, an appeal for Andrew’s release filed by his lawyer was rejected, but a further appeal can be made to a higher court.

Recently Andrew was allowed a family visit. Whereas the Turkish prisoners are allowed family visits once a week, Andrew’s family must apply to the Ministry of Justice for each individual visit. However, Andrew has now been allowed a New Testament; in the immigration facility he had been denied access to a Bible.

In support of Andrew and Norine, Release is asking Christians in the UK and Ireland to pray for his freedom and to write cards and letters on his behalf.

Please pray

  • That God will strengthen, encourage and protect Andrew during his imprisonment
  • That the accusations against Andrew will be clearly repudiated and that he will be released
  • That the family visits and telephone calls will not be obstructed
  • That Andrew’s co-prisoners will be open to the Gospel
  • Christians in Turkey will not be discouraged by these events but remain faithful

 

Please write to Turkey’s Minister of Interior, H.E. Süleyman Soylu, using the following address:

Sayın Bakan Süleyman Soylu

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti İçişleri Bakanlığı

06580 Çankaya/Ankara

Turkey

 

Here is a sample letter you can use. Click here to download the sample letter as a WORD document which you can edit and sign.


 

Sayın Bakan Süleyman Soylu

Minister of Interior

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti İçişleri Bakanlığı

06580 Çankaya/Ankara

Turkey

Date

Your Excellency,

I was deeply shocked and disappointed to hear of the arrest and imprisonment of Andrew Brunson. Andrew is a Christian pastor who has worked selflessly for more than 20 years serving the Turkish people and sharing God’s love for the nation of Turkey.

I know that both Andrew and his wife Norine, have a deep love for all the Turkish people and I am sure that Andrew is not, nor ever has been, involved in any act of terrorism.

I urge the Turkish Government to look at Andrews’ case urgently and thoroughly, so that he may be released unconditionally and permitted to continue serving the community and nation that he loves so dearly.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 


 

You can find out more about our ministry for Prisoners of Faith here.

 

Click here to sign up to our monthly Prisoners of Faith email which will give you regular updates about an individual Christian prisoner with prayer points, and information to help you write letters on their behalf. (If you live outside the UK and Ireland, please send an email requesting the alert to info@releaseinternational.org)