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Daughter of American pastor jailed in Turkey pleads to Trump for help

(YouTube/OfficialACLJ)Pastor Andrew Brunson appears in a screen capture of a video from the YouTube channel of the American Center for Law and Justice.

Jacqueline Brunson, the daughter of American pastor Andrew Brunson, is pleading to President Donald Trump for help in securing the release of her father who is being held in a Turkish prison due to his alleged ties to a terrorist organization.

"We really, really want to get this case, my father's case, to President Trump," Jacqueline told Fox News.

"We really feel it would be helpful to have the president's support and have him personally arguing for my father's case to get him back home safely to his family," she added.

Brunson was detained along with his wife in October in the Turkish coastal town of Izmir, where he had served as pastor for two decades.

Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, who has been working behind the scenes to secure Brunson's release, said that the couple showed up at the police station for a routine visa check, but they were detained after they were suspected of being part of a terrorist plot.

Lankford noted that Brunson's wife was later released, but the pastor was transferred to a prison facility.

According to the senator, Turkish authorities accused Brunson of helping Kurdish refugees, which were considered by the government as an insurgent group. The authorities also claimed that the pastor attended a conference sponsored by Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who was accused of leading the 2016 military coup against the government.

Jacqueline, who is currently studying in North Carolina, contends that there is no evidence to back up the accusations against her father.

"In it all, he's remaining faithful. He's saying, 'God I don't understand what is happening, I don't know how much longer this can last. I don't know what is going to happen in the end.' What he is saying, is, 'God I'm still choosing you to follow despite everything,'" she said.

Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that the government will consider speeding up Brunson's trial.

The prime minister told American journalists that his office is not in direct control of judiciary matters, but he expressed frustration that the U.S. has not extradited Gulen to Turkey.

The Obama administration refused to turn over Gulen, who currently lives in Pennsylvania, to Turkish authorities, saying they must provide clear evidence of his involvement in the coup plot.

CeCe Heil, an attorney with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which is assisting Brunson's legal defense, said that the lawyers have reviewed all of the pastor's contacts and meetings leading up to the coup, but they have found nothing that could be considered suspicious.

She expressed her concern that the pastor will be a hostage for Gulen, but Yildirim said that the idea was "nonsensical."

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