Sister of American Pastor Jailed in Turkey: ‘We Want Him Back with His Family’

Apr 17, 2017 10:26 AM EDT

The sister of the American pastor who was jailed in Turkey in October said she was hopeful that her brother would make it through.

Beth Herman, the sister of pastor Andrew Brunson, said she and the rest of the family believe God is with him.

"We have a strong faith in God," she told Breitbart in an interview. "We believe God is with him and he'll make it through this."

Brunson has been detained six months ago in Turkey, where he had been working as a pastor for more than 20 years. Authorities detained him and accused him of being a part of an armed terrorist organization. However, no charge has yet been filed against him, making it difficult for his lawyers to move forward with his case.

The pastor is being helped by lawyers from the American Center for Law and Justice.

"After peacefully serving the people of Turkey for more than 23 years without any issues from the Turkish government, this U.S. citizen now languishes in prison," the ACLJ said on its website. The organization called for the pastor's release.

In defense of her brother, Herman said Brunson cared for the church and would never do anything to harm them.

"He loves the Turkish people and he's tried to do only good to them," Herman said.

Last month, Brunson wrote a letter addressed to Pres. Donald Trump, urging him to act upon the Turkish government's detention of him on the basis of false accusations.

"Even though I have a long public track record as a church pastor, they falsely accuse me of being a member of an Islamist terrorist group," Brunson wrote. "I plead with my government - with the Trump Administration - to fight for me."

"I ask the State Department to impose sanctions. I appeal to President Trump:  please help me. Let the Turkish government know that you will not cooperate with them in any way until they release me. Please do not leave me here in prison," he added.

Earlier this month, Brunson's wife Norine met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson while he was on a visit to Turkey. They were able to talk for only 20 minutes. She later received a letter from Vice Pres. Mike Pence telling her that her husband's case "remains a top priority of the U.S. government."

Pence said he himself has a "deep, personal interest" in the case and assured her that the State Department and the White House "consider Andrew's release and reunification with you and your three children extremely important," Pence wrote to Norine, according to ACLJ.

Pence said he has discussed and will continue to discuss the matter with top Turkish officials.

Meanwhile, Brunson's family waits for his release.  

"It's been very hard on us as his family," Herman said. "We love him and we want him to be back with his family."