The court case of American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who ran Resurrection Church in Turkey for two decades, is underway. The pastor has been accused of supporting terrorist groups during a 2016 coup attempt.
A Turkish court sentenced Andrew Brunson to 3 years in prison, stating that he had already served time during the trial since his arrest in 2016. According to AFP, the court also ruled in favor of lifting his house arrest and the travel ban on the US citizen.
Earlier in the day, the prosecutor announced in the final statement that Brunson should be sentenced to 10 years in prison, adding, however, that the judicial controls on the US pastor should be lifted. According to Brunson’s lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt, the decision to lift the controls would let his client leave Turkey immediately.
The sentence in the case is expected to be announced on Friday.
Previously, Brunson’s lawyer stated that the pastor’s house arrest had exceeded a reasonable duration and that there was no legal justification to limit Brunson’s freedom. However, Turkish courts rejected the appeals three times, leaving the US national under house arrest.
The detention of the American pastor has become one of the major reasons for the deterioration of relations between Ankara and Washington, leading to the imposition of tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, as well as a financial crisis in the country due to a drop of the Turkish lira.