Turkey frees Amer­i­can pas­tor

Edmonton Sun - - NEWS -

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!”

Emrah GUREL/AP

Andrew Brun­son ar­rives for his trial in Izmir, Turkey, yes­ter­day. Brun­son was con­victed of ter­ror links, but al­lowed to re­turn to the U.S.

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