Turkish court rejects appeal for terror-linked US pastor Brunson to be released

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 31.07.2018 17:21
Updated 31.07.2018 17:41
emAFP Photo/em
AFP Photo

A Turkish court on Tuesday rejected an appeal for terror-linked U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson to be released from house arrest during his trial, according to TRT Haber.

The appeal made by Brunson's lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt on Wednesday was rejected by the 2nd and 3rd Heavy Penal Courts in Izmir, where Brunson is living under house arrest.

Halavurt reportedly objected to the decision that converted Brunson's detention into two years of house arrest and demanded the removal of the ban that keeps him from leaving the country.

Brunson, who was previously jailed for his links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the PKK, was released on July 25 following an appeal by Halavurt who objected his extended detention in an earlier hearing, citing health problems the 50-year-old defendant suffers from.

The Second High Criminal Court in Izmir ordered his house arrest and a ban on travel abroad for the pastor.

Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, was indicted on charges of helping the FETÖ, which is responsible for the failed 2016 coup, as well as supporting the PKK terrorist organization.

The case of Brunson, who was a pastor at the Diriliş (Resurrection) Protestant Church in Izmir, has been a thorny issue between Turkey and the U.S. Washington has repeatedly called for the release of Brunson, claiming he was "unjustly detained."

The Turkish government has repeatedly told Washington that Brunson's case is being handled by the courts and the government cannot intervene.

Brunson was arrested after a secret witness in a criminal probe into FETÖ testified against him while authorities were preparing to deport Brunson and his wife Norine Lyn for "involvement in actions threatening national security."

He is scheduled to appear before a court in October for his third hearing after the court rejected an appeal for his release in a July 18 hearing.

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