“The American center for law and justice” fought for the release of pastor Brunson from the beginning. And joining us today is senior Advisor ACSS – Sisi Hale.
MHN: Tell us about the work that the Center has done in order to free the pastor Brunson.
CECE Hale, the American center for law and justice:
We got down to business at the beginning of October 2016, when arrested pastor Brunson and his wife Noreen. We worked with the Turkish lawyer and also with the US administration and other international organizations like the UN.
MHN: What role in the release of the pastor was played by trump administration?
In such cases it is essential to obtain the support of the administration, and especially gosdepartamenta. And when the matter is taken by the President or Vice-President is a true gift. In the case of pastor Brunson took over not only the President trump, Vice-President, Pence, Pompeo Secretary of state, but the entire state Department. The entire administration took up the case. In addition, we helped the Congress: both chambers and both parties. The United States has become a real defender, who played a key role in the release of pastor Brunson.
MHN: have You ever seen the authorities respond similarly in this situation?
Never. It is unprecedented. This reaction surprised us. We’ve never seen anything like it. Usually we have to promote such things again and again, ask for again and again. But they were with us every step of the way and always helped us. It’s really unprecedented.
MHN: Today pastor Brunson and his wife came to us in the Studio. And just a week ago, as he says himself: “I was standing in a Turkish court, not knowing what will happen to me and will condemn me for life”. They were really shocked. What was your reaction when the pastor was freed, not condemned?
I lived with it. During each court session, which was four, I didn’t sleep, because I lived in Turkey. I received information and followed the progress of the trial. And at each meeting we had hoped that he would be released. This time it was different, especially after I got some information from the morning session. All witnesses began to justify pastor Brunson. And it was the prosecution witnesses. We realized that something had changed, that they were preparing for his release. But you never know. And we didn’t know. That’s why we were so excited when the judge announced the sentence — and we learned that the pastor was found guilty, but was freed because he had already spent enough time in prison. It was wonderful news.
MHN: How do you see the role prayer played in his release?
I think she has played a key role. We lawyers do our job and do it well, but it is God who touches the hearts of rulers. And prayer is something that touches the heart of God. I believe that the prayers of people around the world who prayed for deliverance, prayed for Turkey, and even in ACTS about us and about our work, played a key role in this matter.
MHN: What message the victory of pastor Brunson will bring to persecuted Christians around the world?
We do international human rights. Unfortunately, there are many Christians who are in prison. We will continue to work on their release. But we are very pleased that we managed to win, to get someone out of jail and return to the family home. I saw the arrival of Branshaw to the base as they got off the plane and met with their children. That’s why we do this. Such victory should warm the hearts of people in other parts of the world. There is hope. I also hope that it will encourage believers to continue to pray for freedom for these people.
MHN: Finally, I would like to ask, what other cases are you working on now and the release whom we should pray?
Now I think of Asia Bibi, because we are waiting for a court decision. She spent a long time in prison. But there are others. We work in China, because every day more and more people are arrested because of their faith. I think that you should pray for all persecuted Christians. Let’s hope that we will be able to change something and release them.