(By Perry Chiaramonte, FoxNews). President Trump has committed himself to ensuring the return of an American pastor wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey since last fall, according to the U.S. attorney who represents him and his family.
The Rev. Andrew C. Brunson, who pastored a Protestant church in Turkey’s West Coast town of Izmir for 23 years, was detained along with his wife, Norine, last October. They were accused of supporting terrorism, but his wife was released 12 days later. Then in December Brunson was moved to a prison, although authorities had not filed a formal indictment against him.
On Thursday [5/11/17], Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), met with both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and the results of that meeting have provided a glimmer of hope for the family of Brunson, 48.
“The president and vice president have taken a personal interest in resolving this,” Sekulow told Fox News regarding his recent meeting in the Oval Office. “They are fully engaged. The vice president has told me that he has been in talks with officials in Turkey.”
Sekulow says that he respectfully urged Trump to bring up Brunson’s case in his planned meeting next week with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“I have full confidence that this matter will be successfully resolved in short order,” Sekulow told Fox News.
Sekulow and the ACLJ have long worked for the successful release of other Americans wrongly detained across the globe. Lately they have focused their efforts on the Brunson case. Sekulow said that, besides appealing to the White House, he and the ACLJ are working through the U.N. Human Rights Commission and have heard from nearly 230,000 people demanding Brunson’s release.
Although the Turkish government has not indicted Brunson, officials accused him of having ties to an American-based Muslim cleric, Fetullah Gulen, whom Erdoğan blames for a coup attempt last July.