The American Center for Law and Justice launched a global petition campaign asking for the release of US pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been falsely charged of terrorism in Turkey.
Brunson was detained at a local police station in Izmir on October 7 under the pretense that he will be receiving his permanent residence card. He was informed at the station that he was to be detained until deported stating that he was a "threat to national security."
"The government of Turkey - led by an Islamic party - has begun increased crackdowns on Christians, and Pastor Andrew, if convicted, may face years in prison based on extremely serious - and false - charges," said ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow in a statement.
"We are launching a global campaign to call attention to his plight demanding that Turkey - a NATO member - release Pastor Andrew without delay."
Brunson was imprisoned for 63 days until he was brought to court in December 8, where he was then questioned and accused of being a member of an armed terrorist group. According to NY Post, the pastor was being accused of having connections with US-based cleric, Fetulah Gullen, who Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of Turkey, claimed of being responsible to a coup against his government.
There were no presented files of evidence that would prove the allegations to be true. The judge had the decision to either deport Brunson or continue on detaining him. He decided to choose the latter.
Brunson has been living with his family in Turkey for 23 years while preaching in a Protestant church.
"Andrew's strong faith has always been at the center of his life and that has never been more evident than his pastorship in Turkey," stated his family. "His love and concern for the people of Turkey is unmistakable, as he has dedicated 23 years of his life serving them."
The US State Department and the Congress has been quietly arranging settlements for his release over the last several weeks. An official stated that the department will be responsible for the assistance of any US citizens that are arrested in foreign countries.
"I grew up in Turkey and saw firsthand how much he loves Turkey and the Turkish people. He has exhibited nothing but love, mercy and grace during his time there." Jacqueline Brunson, daughter of Pastor Brunson, said.
"The best Christmas present our family could receive this year is the release of my father."