Turkey (MNN) – After 21 months in Turkish prison and three court hearings, American pastor Andrew Brunson finally received good news yesterday. Brunson, who’s been serving in Turkey for over two decades, has been moved from prison to house arrest.
Last week’s trial was preceded by rumors that Brunson would be released. However, the courts did not decide at that time to release Brunson. Instead, they sent him back to prison after scheduling a hearing for October 12.
Todd Nettleton of the Voice of the Martyrs USA says, “At the end of the day last week when he was sent back to prison, and the next hearing was scheduled for October, everyone was kind of like, ‘Wait a minute, we thought there was going to be some good news here.’
“That good news apparently came [yesterday], a week later…Andrew is being moved from prison to house arrest. He is being allowed to go home and stay at home, pending the outcome of his trial. So that is a huge praise to the Lord, a huge answer to prayer, and shows that some of the scuttlebutt we heard a week ago, even though it was a little slower than we thought, there really was good news coming.”
The terms of Brunson’s house arrest are not clear at this point. However, it is clear that he has been ordered not to leave the country. The World Watch Monitor reported yesterday that Brunson’s wife, Norine, was on her way to meet him at the prison and make sure his release order arrived promptly.
Brunson has been accused of having ties to terrorism and espionage, and of working with the Fethullah Gülen movement which the Turkish government holds responsible for the failed military coup of 2016.
At the trial on July 18, members of Brunson’s congregation testified against him. However, Brunson responded to their painful testimonies with forgiveness. So far, no solid evidence has been produced.
While this news is a wonderful relief, Brunson still may have a long road ahead of him. By the time his next hearing of October 12 comes around, he will have been in detainment for over two years.
Nettleton says our best bet is to pray:
“I think the first prayer today is just a prayer of thanksgiving. This is something that we have prayed for, that Andrew would be released from prison. His wife Norine had posted on social media how difficult his life was in prison, particularly in the summertime, it’s so hot. It’s very difficult to sleep and rest. And so, I think our first prayer is, ‘Thank you Lord! Thank you for answering our prayers on behalf of Andrew Brunson.’
“The second then is praying about the future. This is one step. He is out of prison, released to house arrest. But this is not the dismissal of all these charges. He is still on trial in Turkey. There is still the potential of a 35-year prison sentence. So, we definitely want to continue to pray that all charges will be dropped and that Andrew Brunson will be set completely free.”
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