A person who claims to have been blocked from testifying on behalf of imprisoned Pastor Andrew Brunson in Turkey has shed new light on the case and offered concerning details about the identity of one of the prosecution's secret witnesses.
The source, who chose to remain nameless, told Newsmax in a recent interview that the Turkish government has barred him from testifying on the 50-year-old Brunson's behalf. The source went on to explain how one of the secret witnesses used by the prosecution is an extortionist who is known for taking advantage of religious leaders.
Brunson, a North Carolina native who has preached in Turkey for the past two decades, has been imprisoned since October 2016 and has been falsely accused of being connected to the Islamic Gulen movement and Kurdistan Workers Party.
The source explained that the testimony of the secret witness in question comprises a large part of the 107-page indictment against the pastor. They added that the secret witness has previously been involved in other cases against religious organizations.
The secret witness has been described as a person who has used blackmail and physical threats in recent years to try and extort "large sums of money" from several religious leaders.
The article didn't specify what kind of religious leaders the man had extorted.
Sources told Newsmax that in one instance unrelated to Brunson's case, the secret witness allegedly filed a legal case seeking $800,000 from a religious organization. However, the witness lost that case and its ensuing appeal.
Newsmax, which obtained a copy of Brunson's indictment, reports that passages in Brunson's indictment might have been "adapted from distortions of the previous court case."
The Newsmax report comes as human rights activists and politicians worldwide have condemned NATO member Turkey's imprisonment of Brunson, saying that it's essentially a form of hostage diplomacy.
As of Monday afternoon, over 100 European parliamentarians have called for Brunson's release.
The list includes 75 members of the European Parliament who signed onto a letter that will be sent to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 15, three days before Brunson's next court date. Brunson previously had court hearings in May and April.
"Pastor Andrew Brunson has been living peacefully in Turkey for 23 years. We believe he is an innocent political prisoner; therefore, we urge you again to release him without delay," the letter reads.
The politicians signing the letter represent eight political parties and 20 countries, according to the American Center for Law and Justice.
In February, the European Parliament passed a SamuelSmithCP