Briton, Canadian freed but still may be tried on religious charges
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ A Briton and a Canadian arrested on charges of violating Turkey’s laws against seeking religious converts have been released but still may be tried, a court official and police said Friday.
Andrew James Baldwin, a Briton who teaches English at the Cukurova University in the northern city of Adana, and Rick Kirkwood Monroe, a former employee of a power company there, were arrested March 3. They were charged with holding religious meetings for the purpose of proselytizing.
Turkey’s Anatolia and Hurriyet news agencies quoted military authorities at the time as saying Baldwin, Monroe and nine Turks arrested with them were members of the Christian sect Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But Baldwin said in a telephone interview Friday that all 11 were ″mainline Protestant, ordinary believers in the Bible″ and not affiliated with a denomination.
He said he believed authorities were misled because some Jehovah’s Witnesses’ literature was found in their possession.
A martial law prosecutor in Adana, who spoke on condition he not be identified, and police officer Kemal Bayrak said they expected the 11 to be tried next month but no date had been set.