USA pastor Andrew Brunson leaves Turkey

USA pastor Andrew Brunson leaves Turkey

USA pastor Andrew Brunson leaves Turkey

On Friday, a Turkish court convicted the pastor on terror-related charges but released him from house arrest and allowed him to leave the country. Trump and Erdogan met briefly on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September for the first time since relations soured over Brunson.

Trump slapped Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, with sanctions in August, targeting the country's justice and interior ministers.

Earlier in the day, the prosecutor announced in the final statement that Brunson should be sentenced to 10 years in prison, adding, however, that the judicial controls on the USA pastor should be lifted.

Dressed in a black suit, white shirt and red tie, Mr Brunson, who was one of 20 Americans charged after the coup attempt two years ago, told the court on Friday he was "an innocent man". "I love Jesus, I love Turkey", said Brunson upon hearing of his release.

In August, the USA imposed sanctions on two Turkish cabinet ministers in direct retaliation for Turkey's continued detention of Brunson, as NPR's Colin Dwyer reports.

The exact date of his return to the U.S.is not yet known, but President Trump has voiced on Twitter that Pastor Brunson will be home soon. "Will be home soon!"

In August, Trump told reporters that Turkey had "not acted as a friend" and "they made up phony charges that he's a spy".

"Pastor Brunson was on trial for the crime of 'Christianization, '" the ACLJ statement said.

The Turkish government's treatment of her brother, she said, has "been like a nightmare, waiting day after day to see what would happen". "I am also grateful that President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo, Ambassador Brownback, Senator Tillis, and other United States officials refused to take "no" for an answer for this man's release". James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, for thier work.

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Brunson and his supporters say that the charges against him have been fabricated.

In July, Trump had threatened to hit Turkey with "large sanctions" if it failed to release Brunson.

The administration then imposed sanctions on two senior Turkish officials, and President Trump authorized a doubling of steel and aluminum tariffs.

"We're grateful to the President, members of Congress and diplomatic leaders who continued to put pressure on Turkey to secure the freedom of Pastor Brunson".

Turkey had been close to releasing Brunson before amid detention for charges of aiding terrorist groups. The pastor had earlier this year been transferred from prison to house arrest. He faced up to 35 years in prison.

"Pastor Brunson was also well represented legally by our friends at the American Center for Law and Justice", Perkins adds, "and we commend them and their attorneys for the outstanding work they did on behalf of Pastor Brunson". They "form a key part of Trump's base and have long advocated for increased protections on religious freedom in the USA and overseas".

Trump requests Erdogan to return Brunson to the USA at a White House meeting.

Turkey responded by symbolically freezing the assets of United States officials and vowing never to submit to USA pressure. The country's leadership has said the mass arrests are necessary for security.

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