The latest appeal to have American pastor returned to the U.S. has been rejected by a Turkish court.
On Friday, the court in Turkey refused to release 50-year-old Andrew Brunson, who continues to remain under house arrest there. Meanwhile, President Trump has tweeted that he will refuse to pay a ransom to the NATO ally for the release of the pastor. "We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!" the president tweeted last week.
The American Center for Law and Justice says it fully supports the president's action and his efforts to continue to place economic pressure on Turkey. Matthew Clark, senior counsel for digital advocacy with the ACLJ, says despite what Turkey alleges, Brunson is totally innocent.
"They're trying to go through a campaign to slander and accuse him of truly ridiculous things," the attorney explains. "He didn't plan a coup; he was not a part of a spy ring or anything else. He was a Christian pastor who lived there for 23 years, peacefully pastoring and ministering to people in his church – and they're using him as a political pawn. As the president said [on Twitter], he is a 'patriot hostage.'"
Clark tells OneNewsNow that in diplomacy, sometimes there's a bump in the road. "And that's where we are right now: a bump in the road on the road to freedom for Pastor Andrew," he adds.
He says both the Trump administration and the ACLJ lawyers representing Brunson are aggressively working on the pastor's freedom and won't stop until he's free.