FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa, ON – MP David Anderson, as Chair of the Steering Group of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), has again called for the immediate release of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor imprisoned in Turkey since October 2016.
The IPPFoRB is a global network of parliamentarians from diverse political and religious backgrounds, working together to promote conscience rights for all people in accordance with international human rights standards. The members of the IPPFoRB are launching a new Prisoners of Conscience advocacy project, and Mr. Anderson will be adopting Pastor Brunson on the second anniversary of his unjust imprisonment. Since the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, the government has cracked down on minority religious groups with scores of arbitrary arrests. Brunson’s detention appears to be linked to his religious beliefs and his actions in accordance with those beliefs.
Andrew Brunson is an American citizen who has lived and pastored an evangelical Presbyterian church in Turkey for 23 years. On October 7, 2016, Pastor Brunson went to attend what he thought was a routine meeting related to his visa renewal, and was taken into custody. Brunson was charged on December 9, 2016 with supporting a terrorist organization and espionage related to the failed coup. Brunson strongly denies these allegations. Due to deteriorating health, Brunson is now under house arrest awaiting his trial on October 12, 2018.
Since 2016, MP Anderson has sent letters to President Erdogan and the Turkish Ambassador to Canada requesting that the Turkish government recognize Pastor Brunson’s innocence and release him in accordance with international human rights standards. The concerted action of elected representatives from multiple countries will amplify the impact of advocacy on Brunson’s behalf. The next hearing in Pastor Brunson’s case is scheduled for October 12, 2018. MP David Anderson, along with IPPFoRB parliamentarians from around the world, will be joining together in the days surrounding this hearing and the anniversary of Brunson’s imprisonment on October 7th to call for the Turkish government to uphold justice and release Brunson.
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For more information, please contact the office of:
David Anderson, MP: (613) 992-0657