NC pastor still in Turkish prison, family says he’s being persecuted for Christian beliefs

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Pastor Andrew Brunson (WTVD)

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A North Carolina Presbyterian pastor has been held in a Turkish prison for almost four months now, according to WTVD.

Pastor Andrew Brunson is being accused of “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” His family says he’s being persecuted for his Christian belief.

“Honestly it’s been a nightmare that I did not think would still be going on,” his daughter Jacqueline Brunson said. “I mean he’s an American citizen. It’s kind of outrageous to think that this is happening to an American citizen.”

Andrew Brunson and his family are from Black Mountain, in western N.C., and his daughter Jacqueline is a student at UNC Chapel Hill. The pastor has dedicated 23 years to Christian missionary work in Turkey — building churches and spreading the gospel — until he applied for residency and was arrested.

When asked if her father might be involved in any terroristic activity, Jacqueline Brunson said “not at all, definitely not.”

“There’s nothing that they can look at that has any ties to membership and any terrorist organization. He’s the pastor of a church,” said executive counsel Cece Heil.

Both North Carolina senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, said they’re aware of the situation and working to get answers.

The family is also hopeful that if President Donald Trump speaks with President Tayyip Erdogan, he’ll raise the issue.

Jacqueline Brunson is currently delaying her upcoming wedding because she wants her father to attend.

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