The American Center for Law and Justice says an outrageous miscarriage of justice continues in Turkey.
The Christian-based legal group is referring to the trial of 50-year-old American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson. The North Carolina native is charged with terrorism and espionage, despite his 23 years of service to the Turkish people.
ACLJ senior counsel CeCe Heil says the second session of Brunson's trial was similar to the first – going on for a grueling 11 hours with several people testifying against the pastor.
"Seven witnesses talking about things that they didn't have any personal knowledge of – [it was] complete hearsay and speculation," says the attorney. "But then once again, at the end of the 11 hours, the judges remanded Pastor Brunson back to prison and set the next trial date for July 18."
According to Heil, Brunson is definitely not going to get a fair trial, suggesting to her that it's going to take diplomatic efforts from U.S. leaders to free Brunson. "There are some ways, I think, that we can continue to put pressure on Turkey, which is a supposed NATO ally, and just say We're not going to deal with you until you let Pastor Brunson go."
Heil says this trial appears to be "just for show on Turkey's side," while the pastor sits in prison for another two months, missing his family.
An ACLJ online petition seeking Brunson's release has garnered more than a half-million signatures since being posted a month ago.