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A Turkish court, to the dismay of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, on Wednesday ruled against releasing Andrew Brunson, an American pastor imprisoned on terrorism and spying charges pending trial.
In a crackdown launched in the wake of the failed coup in July 2016, Turkish authorities arrested Brunson in October of that year while he was serving a small Protestant congregation in Turkey’s third largest city of Izmir, located in the province of the same name where he is now facing trial.
Pastor - Izmir - Resurrection - Church - Charges
The former pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church, who denied the charges, is facing up to 35 years in jail if found guilty.
U.S. President Donald Trump has urged America’s NATO ally Turkey to release the American pastor, to no avail.
July - Decision - Time - Court - Brunson
The July 18 decision marks the third time the Turkish court refuses to liberate Brunson, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) agency notes.
“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has previously linked his fate to that of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Turkey blames for the coup attempt and whose extradition Ankara seeks,” Reuters reports, adding:
Second - High - Penal - Court - Aegean
The Second High Penal Court in [the Aegean province of] İzmir decided to continue listening to the testimonies of witnesses in the next hearing on Oct. 12.
Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was indicted on charges of having links with the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) that Ankara blames for the failed 2016 coup attempt, as well the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Imprisonment - Turkey - Purchase - Russian - Air
The continued imprisonment, and Turkey’s purchase of a Russian air defense system, prompted the Republican-led U.S. Senate to approve a bill last month that would ban Ankara from purchasing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter warplanes.
Before the start of the July 18 hearing, Philip Kosnett, the U.S. charge d’affaires in Turkey, told reporters outside the courtroom that Brunson’s release is...
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