Turkey court frees US pastor after two-year detention
ALIAGA, Turkey (3rd UPDATE) – A Turkish court on Friday, October 12, ordered the release of an American pastor held for the last two years in Turkey, in a case that caused 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 in the trial, with the court lifting his house arrest and overseas travel ban, the correspondent added.
Brunson could now return to the United States immediately and thus end the friction over his case that caused a crisis in relations between NATO allies Ankara and Washington.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said he hoped for the swift return to the United States of Brunson.
"My thoughts and prayers are with Pastor (Andrew) Brunson, and we hope to have him safely back home soon!" Trump said on Twitter, shortly after posting that he was "working very hard" on the case.
With Washington slapping sanctions on Ankara, the crisis also sparked a crash in the Turkish lira in August that exposed Turkey's economic fragility.
The lira was already boosted by the reports of the prosecutor's request, shedding earlier losses to gain 0.7 percent against the US dollar to 5.88. – Rappler.com