Trump’s personal attorney tweets support for jailed American pastor

Jay Sekulow, a member of Donald Trump’s personal legal team, has taken to twitter to urge his followers to, “Read, RT and pray for” for an American pastor held in a Turkish prison.  

Pastor Andrew Brunson, a long time Turkish resident was initially detained in Oct. 2016, on charges of being a member of the Gülen movement, which Turkish authorities consider a terrorist organization. The charges, which carry the possibility of a life sentence, were later amended to include spying and attempting to overthrow the government.

Brunson’s trial is scheduled to open this April.

Sekulow, on Saturday once again sent a tweet about Pastor Brunson's upcoming trial in Turkey.

Sekulow’s tweet links to an article posted on the American Center for Law and Justice’s (ACLJ) website that describes the indictment against Brunson as, “wholly lacking merit” and containing no evidence of criminal activities. Rather, it says the charges show that Turkey considers “Christianization” to be an act of terror.

Sekulow is the chief counsel of the ACLJ, a conservative, Christian flavoured non-profit organization headquartered in Washington D.C.

The Brunson case has attracted widespread interest, both in Turkey and abroad. U.S. authorities have repeatedly expressed concerns about Brunson’s fate and called for his release. Former U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raised the matter during a February visit to Turkey and also met with Brunson’s wife.   

Brunson’s detention has contributed to international concerns that Turkey is engaged in “hostage diplomacy”. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has done little to damp these fears, saying that the United States should exchange “a pastor for a pastor.” This implies that Erdoğan would swap Brunson for Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish cleric residing in Pennsylvania, who many believe to have been behind Turkey’s 2016 coup attempt.