U.S. pastor’s trial continues in Turkey
International | Judges send Andrew Brunson back to prison until next court date in July
by Mindy Belz
Posted 5/07/18, 02:39 pm
TURKEY: Jailed American pastor Andrew Brunson went on trial again Monday. After nearly 12 hours of courtroom proceedings, Turkish judges for a second time sent him back to prison, pending a July 18 continuation. Sunday night I attended an overnight vigil at Brunson’s home church in Black Mountain, N.C., where about 25 people—including Brunson’s 75-year-old mother, Pam—gathered to pray starting at 2 a.m. EDT to coincide with the beginning of the trial in Izmir. Pam Brunson—who with her husband, Ron, is a Presbyterian missionary who served in Mexico, Pakistan, and Russia—prayed throughout, including for jailed Christians in North Korea. She said, “Andrew is not a victim. Andrew is an instrument.” Her husband is currently in Mexico training Bible study leaders.
Brunson’s pastor and representatives from the Evangelical Presbyterian Church attended Monday’s trial, along with Sandra Jolley, vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
Among many issues, this international case now hinges on a push on Capitol Hill to clamp sanctions on Turkey and block future military sales to the NATO ally as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan moves forward in purchasing S-400 anti-aircraft missiles from Russia. “I want to stay hopeful, and I am hopeful he might be released. But in cases like this, it’s not all law here,” Brunson’s Turkish attorney, Ismail Cem Halavurt, told The Atlantic. “There are other things that are in play.”
American media plays a key role at this point, as Erdogan has successfully silenced independent press in Turkey.
We’ll continue to follow Brunson’s plight at wng.org.
LEBANON: Hezbollah and its political allies won just more than half the seats in Lebanon’s parliamentary election Sunday, boosting an Iranian-backed movement fiercely opposed to Israel and underlining Tehran’s growing regional clout. “The state of Israel will not differentiate between the sovereign state of Lebanon and Hezbollah, and will view Lebanon as responsible for any action from within its territory,” said Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.