Court frees US pas­tor from Turk­ish jail

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - World - – AFP

A Turk­ish court on Fri­day freed an Amer­i­can pas­tor held for the last two years in Turkey, in a case that sparked a cri­sis in ties with the United States.

The court in the western town of Aliaga convicted An­drew 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 freed tak­ing into ac­count time served and his good con­duct dur­ing the trial, with the court lift­ing his house ar­rest and over­seas travel ban, the correspondent said.

"This is the day our fam­ily has been pray­ing for – I am de­lighted to be on my way home to the United States," Brun­son said.

The Amer­i­can Cen­tre for Law and Jus­tice, a group that works on Chris­tian le­gal cases and which rep­re­sented Brun­son, said he was set to re­turn but had not yet left Turkey.

"It's been an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult time for our fam­ily and we want to ex­press our ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the mil­lions of peo­ple around the world who have faith­fully prayed for this day," Brun­son said.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who has pub­licly pressed for Brun­son's re­lease, tweeted that he "will be home soon".

His Turk­ish lawyer, Cem Halavurt, ear­lier said the pas­tor had been driven to his home in Izmir once the hear­ing was con­cluded.

Brun­son's de­ten­tion since 2016 caused one of the worst diplo­matic rows of re­cent times be­tween Nato al­lies Turkey and the US, and also led to a crash in the Turk­ish lira

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