On 7 October 2016, Turkish authorities detained Andrew Brunson, a U.S. citizen and the pastor of the Resurrection Church in Izmir, Turkey along with his wife Norine on charges of “threat to national security”. After being held for 13 days at the Goc Idaresi (Migration Management) in Isikkent, Izmir, on 19 October, Norine Brunson was released with no explanation. On the same day, however, Andrew Brunson was transferred to the high-security area of the Goc Idaresi in Harmandali.
Since his arrest, Andrew, a resident of Turkey for the past 23 years, was repeatedly denied access to legal counsel and U.S. consular services until 5 November. On 8 December, the 48-year-old was transferred to a counter-terrorism center and then produced before a judge at an Izmir court the next day. At the court hearing, Andrew Brunson was accused of being a member of the network of the influential Islamic preacher, Fetullah Gulen, the group implicated for instigating the failed military coup against the Turkish government on July 15. Following the hearing, Andrew was transferred to Izmir’s Sakran 3 Nolu T Tipi Prison.
- Pray for the immediate release of Andrew Brunson;
- Pray that the Turkish authorities would not discriminate against expatriate Christians and the threats of deportations and entry bans would cease;
- Pray for greater religious freedoms for Christians in Turkey.