The US president added: ‘They call him a Spy, but I am more a Spy than he is. Hopefully he will be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs!’The US administration later warned Turkey that it was considering punitive ‘consequences’ if the country does not throw out the charges or acquit Brunson.Sandra Jolley, the vice chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, attended court yesterday and said that the 11 hours of proceedings ‘were dominated by wild conspiracies, tortured logic, and secret witnesses, but no real evidence to speak of’.
She added in a statement: ‘Worse still, the judge’s decision at the conclusion of today’s hearing to dismiss all of the witnesses called by Pastor Brunson’s defence without listening to a single minute of their testimony is simply unconscionable. ‘The truth is that this case is part of a larger decline in personal freedoms, including religious freedom and human rights, that we are witnessing in Turkey in recent years. We are looking to the Turkish judiciary to uphold pastor Brunson’s innocence.’Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years, served as pastor of Izmir Resurrection Church, a small Protestant congregation. Meanwhile, the global Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) launched a call to prayer and fasting over the weekend in ‘an effort to stand with and pray for the entire Brunson family’.