Court frees US pastor from Turkish jail
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