US pastor Andrew Brunson set to appear before Turkish court on April 16 for the first time
The trial of imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson will begin in the Aegean province of İzmir on April 16, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 26.
Brunson was arrested in the province on Dec. 9, 2016. An indictment prepared by the İzmir Public Prosecutor’s Office following a one-and-half-year-long investigation was accepted by the Second High Penal Court in the province on March 16.
The indictment accuses Brunson of being linked to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have orchestrated the 2016 failed coup attempt, and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Prosecutors demand 15 years in jail for the pastor for “committing crimes on behalf of terror organizations without being a member,” while seeking up to 20 years for “political or military espionage.”
The indictment said Brunson was allegedly involved in converting Kurds to Christianity and aiming to establish a Kurdish state for them.
“It was understood that some of the church’s executives and priests were trying to take root in our country by establishing associations under the guise of a missionary operation. [They were] aiming to divide our country into a few pieces and give a small part to the administration of the FETÖ terror group,” said the indictment.