Mike Pence: Release of American pastor from Turkey is top priority for White House

The release of an American Christian pastor who has been wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey is a top priority for the White House, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has assured the pastor's wife.

(REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji)U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during an Easter fellowship dinner at a military base in Seoul, South Korea, April 16, 2017.

In a letter to Pastor Andrew Brunson's wife, Pence assured her that the U.S. State Department and the White House consider the case very important. He also vowed to continue discussing the case with "senior Turkish officials" as he had previously done, the American Center for Law and Justice relays.

"I can assure you both that the State Department and this White House, under President Trump's leadership, consider Andrew's release and reunification with you and your three children extremely important," Pence told Mrs. Brunson in the letter.

In February, Pastor Brunson's family told WTVD that his being charged of being a member of an armed terrorist group is only a form of religious persecution. His daughter Jacqueline said the ordeal has been a nightmare for them.

Turkey was thrown into a state of emergency after a coup last summer. It was a situation that Jacqueline said has made Christians unwelcome in the country. She also revealed that she has postponed her wedding because she wants her father to be the one to walk her down the aisle.

"That's kind of on hold because I want my dad to be able to walk me down the aisle," said Jacqueline. "I want him there. He only gets to see me get married once."

Pastor Brunson has already spent the last six months jailed in Turkey over false charges related to national security. ACLJ notes that such charges are commonly used to target Christians.

In addition, ACLJ pointed out that Pastor Brunson had served the Turkish people for 23 years without incident. Even though there was no evidence presented to prove the charges against him, he was still imprisoned.

Nevertheless, ACLJ thanked Pence for his concern and encouragement for the Brunsons. The center has also launched a petition advocating for the Christian pastor's immediate release from jail.