In an interview on Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback answered questions on the government’s views on the imprisonment of Rev. Andrew Brunson, a Presbyterian pastor from North Carolina who has led a small congregation in Izmir, Turkey, for the past two decades.
Brunson was imprisoned in Turkey in October 2016. It wasn’t until April 2018 that he was formally told why. He is accused of espionage and charges related to terrorism and faces up to 35 years in jail.
In the interview, Brownback said these are “completely specious charges. There's no factual basis for it.”
Brownback characterized Turkey’s attitude toward the United States as “confrontational…. It doesn't make any sense what the Turkish government is doing…. There's just nothing that’s there and the Turks are using this at a high level and it’s really hurting the relationship between the United States and Turkey. But I think ultimately he [Brunson] will come home.”
The interview is available on the CBN website.
From its beginnings, the Church of Scientology has recognized that freedom of religion is a fundamental human right. In a world where conflicts are often traceable to intolerance of others’ religious beliefs and practices, the Church has, for more than 50 years, made the preservation of religious liberty an overriding concern.
The Church publishes this blog to help create a better understanding of the freedom of religion and belief and provide news on religious freedom and issues affecting this freedom around the world.