An American missionary who was briefly detained in Turkey for being a "danger to public order" has been released.
David Byle, 46, has a residency permit which he received last year, but nevertheless faces threat of deportation. Authorities had tried to deport him several times before, according to a report by BosNewsLife.
He was detained on April 6 and a "no-reentry order" was filed against him. His wife said that the charges against him of allegedly disturbing public order were false. She said in a statement that "the reason he is being held is because of his evangelistic activities."
"Praise God, I was released from the deportation center this afternoon, and just arrived home," David Byle wrote on Facebook on April 14. "Thanks to all who prayed and did advocacy for me, also to my tireless lawyer and most of all to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who never left my side, and never will."
Byle was the first missionary to have fought and won a lawsuit over his residency. The lawsuit lasted five years.
He was first arrested in Istanbul in April 2007 for "forceful missionary activity," and "aggressive evangelism" but the first charge of missionary activity was dropped the next month as it is not a crime in Turkey. In November that year, the other charge was also dismissed as it relates only to selling goods or services aggressively, and evangelism does not fall under this criteria.
He also founded an organization called the Bible Correspondence Course in Turkey, which was attacked in 2014. Thousands of New Testaments were burned in the attack.
Then again in February 2009, he was detained along with several other members of BCC, all of whom were forced to provide written statements before being released.
In spite of facing detentions, deportations, and court cases, he refuses to be deterred from his mission of preaching the gospel in Turkey.
"He's a very bold person, and I look up to him," a leader (requested anonymity) at US-based International Christian Response (ICR), that provides aid to persecuted Christians was quoted as saying by Morning Star News. "I wish there were more people like him."