The daughter of an imprisoned American pastor testified at the U.S. Helsinki Commission hearing this week that her father is being wrongfully jailed in a Turkish prison.
Jacqueline Furnari and the American Center for Law and Justice asked that Congress help secure the release of her father, American pastor Andrew Brunson.
"My husband and I decided to have a civil ceremony and to postpone our wedding until my father is home," Furnari said. "I'm still waiting for my wedding. I'm still waiting to wear that wedding dress that I got almost a year and a half ago.
"I'm still waiting for my dad to walk me down the aisle, and I'm still waiting for that father-daughter dance," she continued her heartfelt plea.
Brunson has been in prison in Turkey for more than 400 days, according to CBN News.
He face charges of espionage, acquiring secret political and military information, attempting to destroy constitutional order and overthrowing the Turkish parliament. He has not been formally charged with these crimes, however, said CeCe Heil, executive counsel for the ACLJ.
"Pastor Brunson maintains his innocence and denies all the accusations,” she said.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have both personally requested his release, but the Turkish government has refused.
"While Pastor Brunson has been in prison, he has lost over 50 pounds; he has lost precious time with his family that can never be replaced, and worst of all, he has lost all hope, wondering why Turkey, a NATO ally and a country that he has loved and served for over two decades, has been able to hold him hostage, an innocent United States citizen, for over a year," Heil said.
The ACLJ has a petition calling for Brunson’s release. Nearly 390,000 people have signed it.
Publication date: November 17, 2017
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.