Amer­i­can pas­tor in Turkey faces ter­ror charges in trial

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - NATION & WORLD -

IZMIR, Turkey — An Amer­i­can pas­tor im­pris­oned in Turkey is go­ing on trial for al­leged ter­ror ties and spy­ing in a case that has in­creased ten­sions be­tween Wash­ing­ton and Ankara.

Andrew Craig Brun­son, a 50-year-old evan­gel­i­cal pas­tor from North Carolina, is fac­ing up to 35 years in prison on charges of “com­mit­ting crimes on be­half of ter­ror groups with­out be­ing a mem­ber” and “es­pi­onage.” The trial be­gins Mon­day in west­ern Izmir prov­ince.

Brun­son was ar­rested in De­cem­ber 2016 for al­leged links to both an out­lawed Kur­dish in­sur­gent group and the net­work of the U.S.-based Mus­lim cleric whom Turkey blames for a mas­ter­mind­ing a failed mil­i­tary coup that year. The cleric, Fethul­lah Gulen, de­nies the claim.

Brun­son, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years, has de­nied all al­le­ga­tions.

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