Pastor Andrew Brunson has been released so that he can return to the United States after spending two years imprisoned in Turkey.
Pastor Brunson was on house arrest following his release from prison and was unable to return to the US. He had been living in Turkey and was working for the small Izmir Resurrection Church when he was arrested over his ties to various political groups following the failed 2016 coup attempt.
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In order to secure the pastor’s release, the Trump administration had imposed sanctions on two Turkish officials who were linked to the arrest and detention and employed other various economic actions on the Turkish government.
According to a press release, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, in his capacity as a Commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, attended this morning’s hearing near Izmir, Turkey, where the pastor was released.
“The prayers of thousands were answered today when Pastor Brunson was released by the Turkish government and told he could go home to the United States. Those prayers combined with the unwavering resolve of President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo and Ambassador Brownback brought tangible help to Pastor Brunson and hope to those around the globe who are being persecuted because of their faith,” Perkins said.
“Yesterday afternoon I visited with Pastor Brunson and his wife Norine and delivered letters from President Trump and Vice President Pence that assured them of this administration’s commitment to them and the underlying principle of religious freedom. I also took the opportunity to share with them the names of over 16,000 Christians in the US that signed a pledge over the last few days to stand with them in prayer — those prayers have been answered,” Perkins added. “America seeks the well-being of all peaceful, freedom loving people, but this administration has made clear America will not sacrifice religious freedom and the well-being of Americans on the altar of globalism.”