Native Black Mountain pastor to remain imprisoned in Turkey on terrorist charge
BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (WLOS) —
A pastor who is a native of Black Mountain will remain imprisoned in Turkey, charged with being a member of a terror group.
The American Center for Law and Justice released new information about Pastor Andrew Brunson's case on Thursday. The ACLJ states that Brunson's appeal was denied.
"He faces a serious, yet completely unfounded, charge - 'membership in an armed terrorist organization,'" the ACLJ said in a statement. "In fact, the charging documents do not present any evidence against him."
Brunson established a church in Turkey 23 years ago, the Resurrection Church in the city of Izmir.
As News 13 reported, Brunson's daughter, Jacqueline, said her father was arrested in October on a charge of being a threat to national security.
Since being charged with being a member of a terrorist organization, the ACLJ states Brunson has been imprisoned since Dec. 9.
The ACLJ says Brunson was allowed to visit with family on Wednesday, and that he is now allowed to have a New Testament Bible after previously being denied one. He was also given some access to his attorney, and has a visit scheduled for Friday with U.S. Embassy Officials.
"Pastor Andrew must be released," said the ACLJ in a statement. "We are continuing our diplomatic efforts to engage the incoming U.S. administration, and moving forward with an appeal of his case."
An online petition calling for his release has gained more than 141,000 signatures.