Turkey frees American pastor
IZMIR, turkey — a turkish court on Friday convicted an american pastor of terror links but released him from house arrest and allowed him to leave the country, a move that’s likely to ease tensions between turkey and the united States.
the court near the western city of Izmir sentenced North carolina native andrew brunson to three years, one month and 15 days in prison for allegedly helping terror groups. but since the 50-yearold evangelical pastor had already spent nearly two years in detention, turkish law allowed him to remain free with time served.
an earlier charge of espionage against him was dropped.
brunson, a native of North carolina whose detention had sparked a diplomatic dispute between the two Nato allies, had rejected the espionage and terror-related charges and strongly maintained his innocence.
the 50-year-old had faced up to 35 years in jail if convicted of all the charges. With tears in his eyes, he hugged his wife Norine Lyn as he awaited the decision Friday.
after the verdict, President donald J. trump tweeted he was praying for brunson, saying he “WILL be HOME SOON!”
Andrew Brunson arrives for his trial in Izmir, Turkey, yesterday. Brunson was convicted of terror links, but allowed to return to the U.S.