A NASA scientist who was imprisoned and detained on house arrest for over four years in Turkey has returned to the United States with his family.
Serkan Golge, who was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison on trumped-up terrorism charges in a verdict condemned by the U.S. government, arrived in Washington, D.C., on a commercial flight early Tuesday morning, according to The New York Times.
Golge’s return comes almost eight months after President Donald Trump announced at a press briefing with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House that Golge had been released and would be home soon. However, Golge remained under judicial control for months thereafter, and his family was barred from leaving Turkey.
The judicial controls were lifted in April, but it wasn’t until recently that international flights resumed following the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Golge, a 40-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen who served as a contractor on a proposed mission to Mars and lived near Houston, Texas, was among many Americans imprisoned by Turkish authorities that U.S. officials believe were held captive for political reasons in the wake of the 2016 coup attempt against the Erdogan government.
Another one of those hostages, North Carolina missionary Andrew Brunson, spent over two years in a Turkish prison and house arrest on similar charges before his return to the U.S. in 2018. Brunson’s imprisonment inspired an international prayer and awareness effort that drew the attention of U.S. evangelicals and Trump.
At the height of the international advocacy effort for Brunson, activists called for Golge’s case not to be lost in the equation.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith