By NPR. Roughly two years after Turkish authorities detained Andrew Brunson on suspicion of espionage, the U.S. pastor is a free man once more. Turkey ordered his release Friday, ending a case that heightened tensions between Turkey and the U.S.
A court in the western city of Izmir actually sentenced Brunson to a little more than three years in prison, according to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu. However, as NPR’s Peter Kenyon in Istanbul explains, the court says he will serve no more time, considering his health issues.
“The court also lifted judicial controls on Brunson — that means restrictions on his movements have been lifted and he is now free to leave the country,” Kenyon reports. The prosecutor had asked for a 10-year sentence.
The evangelical pastor wept in court upon hearing the news of his release, Reuters reported. Prior to the ruling, he said, “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus, I love Turkey.” After he listened to an alleged witness, he said, “I do not understand how this is related to me.” (Read more from “Turkey Releases U.S. Pastor After 2 Years in Prison” HERE)
U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson Leaves Turkey After Being Detained for 2 Years
By Fox News. President Trump drew loud cheers at a rally on Friday evening when he announced that Pastor Andrew Brunson — newly released from Turkey and heading home — is expected to visit him in the Oval Office on Saturday.
“We bring a lot of people back,” the president told the crowd in Lebanon, Ohio, near Cincinnati. It was an apparent reference not only to the release of Brunson, but to the negotiated return of three American hostages from North Korea in May. President Trump also won the release of three UCLA basketball players who were detained in China last November.
Earlier in the day, Trump spoke with reporters about Brunson, after it was confirmed that the 50-year-old North Carolina pastor was beginning his journey home after being detained for two years.
“He’s, I think, in good shape,” the president said. “He’ll be stopping most likely in Germany for a full check-up and then he’s going to be coming to the Oval Office, most likely on Saturday.
“But we’re very honored to have him back with us,” Trump continued. “He suffered greatly, but we’re very appreciative to a lot of people.” (Read more from “U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson Leaves Turkey After Being Detained for 2 Years” HERE)