Turkish court rules to release US Pastor
A TURKISH court ruled yesterday to release the US evangelical Christian pastor at the centre of a bitter diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington.
The court passed a three years and six weeks’ sentence on Mr Brunson, who had been charged with terrorism offences, but said he would not serve any further time because he had already been detained since October 2016.
Witnesses said Mr Brunson wept as the decision was announced. Before the judge’s ruling, the pastor told the court: “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus, I love Turkey.”
The case against Mr Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, had led to US tariffs against Turkey and drawn condemnation from President Donald Trump.
Mr Brunson was charged with links to Kurdish militants and supporters of Fethullah Gülen, the cleric blamed by Turkey for a failed coup attempt in 2016. Mr Brunson denied the accusation.