Freed US pas­tor fly­ing home from Turkey af­ter case sparked cri­sis

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Wash­ing­ton, United States - An Amer­i­can pas­tor held for two years in Turkey was ex­pected back in the US on Satur­day af­ter a court freed him in a case that sparked a cri­sis in Ankara’s ties with Wash­ing­ton and trou­ble for its econ­omy.

The court in the western town of Aliaga con­victed An­drew Craig Brun­son on ter­ror-re­lated charges and sen­tenced him to three years, one month and 15 days in jail, an AFP cor­re­spon­dent said.

How­ever, he was re­leased tak­ing into ac­count time served and his good con­duct dur­ing the trial, with the court lift­ing his house ar­rest and over­seas travel ban.

Af­ter briefly go­ing back to nearby Izmir to col­lect be­long­ings, Brun­son was driven to the city’s air­port where he boarded a US mil­i­tary plane.

Richard Grenell, the US Am­bas­sador to Ger­many, later tweeted a pic­ture show­ing Brun­son kiss­ing an Amer­i­can flag he was given at an air­base where the plane landed for re­fu­el­ing.

“He’s al­most home thanks to @re­alDon­aldTrump. When I pre­sented him with the US flag, he im­me­di­ately kissed it. #agrate­ful­na­tion,” wrote Grenell.

The US Pres­i­dent had pressed Turkey to re­lease Brun­son, who has be­come a cause cele­bre for Don­ald Trump’s con­ser­va­tive Chris­tian base.

Trump said he would meet the pas­tor as soon as he re­turns.

“Good news, Pas­tor Brun­son is in the air,” Trump told re­porters as he ar­rived in Cincin­nati on a cam­paign stop ahead of con­gres­sional elec­tions. “He is com­ing to the Oval Of­fice, most likely on Satur­day.”

An­drew Craig Brun­son

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