(World Watch Monitor) — Hopes were dashed for the imminent release of an American pastor jailed in Turkey on terrorism charges as a Turkish court today ordered him to remain behind bars.
The court scheduled Andrew Brunson’s next hearing for Oct. 12.
Some observers had believed that Turkey might release Brunson, who has been detained for almost two years, since Oct 2016. The pastor of a small church in Izmir, he is accused of having links with supporters of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is blamed for the failed 2016 coup against President Erdogan, and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Brunson denies all the charges.
According to Reuters, Brunson told the court in Turkish, “It is really hard to stay in jail and be separated from my wife and children.”
“There is no concrete evidence against me,” Reuters quoted Brunson as saying. “The disciples of Jesus suffered in his name, now it is my turn. I am an innocent man on all these charges. I reject them. I know why I am here. I am here to suffer in Jesus’ name.”