Senate considers penalty for Turkey if Christian pastor not released

By WND Staff

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, and the U.S. House and Senate repeatedly have spoken out on the case of the American Christian pastor, Andrew Brunson, who has been held essentially without charges for more than a year in a Turkish jail.

Now the U.S. Senate is looking into a very serious penalty if the Muslim-majority nation, led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has made no secret of his caliphate aspirations, continues to refuse to cooperate.

A banishment from the program that allows nations to obtain America’s F-35s.

The American Center for Law and Justice, which has advocated on behalf of Brunson, said the Senate is reviewing Section 1269 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

If Turkey continues to hold Brunson, the provision “would effectively require the U.S. Department of Defense to remove Turkey form the F-35 program. This would deny Turkey access to the U.S.-built, state-of-the-art fighter jet – a move that would significantly curtail the modernization of Turkey’s air force,” the ACLJ reported this week.

The nation currently hopes to buy 100 of the plans.

“This kind of partnership makes strategic sense when the purchasing country is behaving like an ally of the U.S. and actively assisting with the global effort to defeat terrorism. It does not make sense when the purchasing country is behaving with hostility and imprisoning this innocent American for political reasons,” the ACLJ explains.

“We applaud Sen. [Jeanne] Shaheen, D-N.H., and Sen. [Thom] Tillis for their leadership on this effort, and we call on the U.S. Senate to quickly approve the NDAA,” the organization said.

The ACLJ earlier asked government leaders from around the world to pressure Turkey to release Brunson.

The president has called for Brunson’s release several times, tweeting the pastor should “be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs.”

WND reported in May when the ACLJ warned the United Nations of Turkey’s flouting of international law by issuing “utter sham” charges against the American citizen.

ACLJ recently delivered to the United Nations Human Rights Council a legal submission that points out Turkey’s offenses.

Brunson was arrested late in 2016 and has been held since.

“These actions violate Articles 9 (right to liberty and security of person), 14 (equality before the courts and tribunals), and 18 (right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion), of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Turkey is a signatory, as well as Articles 7 (equality before the law and equal protection of the law), 9 (no arbitrary arrest or detention), 10 (fair and public hearing), and 11 (presumed innocent until proved guilty) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and Article 5 (right to liberty and security of person & lawfulness of detention), and 6 (adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence) of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR),” ACLJ told the U.N.

“Additionally, Articles 10 and 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey protect the rights of everyone to equality before the law ‘without distinction as to . . . political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect,’ as do Articles 2 and 7 of the UDHR and Article 18 of the ICCPR. These rights include the freedom, ‘either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching’. Article 5 of the ECHR guarantees that no one shall be arbitrarily ‘deprived of his liberty.’ Article 36 of Turkey’s Constitution also protects the right to litigation ‘before the courts through lawful means and procedure.’


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