Turkey Releases U.S. Pastor After Two Years In Prison

North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson Reportedly Set to be Released by Turkish Government

North Carolina Pastor Andrew Brunson Reportedly Set to be Released by Turkish Government

President Donald Trump tweeted - after global press reported the verdict - that he was '[w] orking very hard on Pastor Brunson!' Brunson has denied the charges.

The High Criminal Court no 2 in Izmir rules Brunson's detention would be turned into house arrest due to "health problems".

Altun said that Turkey monitored US efforts to "mount pressure on Turkey's independent court system for some time", stating that Turkey "has been subject to various threats of sanctions".

Brunson is from Black Mountain.

Brunson led a small congregation in the Izmir Resurrection Church. He was imprisoned for almost two years - detained in October 2016 and formally arrested in December that year - before being placed under house arrest on July 25 for health reasons.

An American pastor who has been held in prison by the Turkish government for two years should be on his way home to the U.S.by the end of the day.

The case has drawn the attention of North Carolina lawmakers, notably Republican Sen.

Brunson professed his innocence and argued he was being persecuted for his Christian faith, as did the United States government.

With Brunson out, the diplomat said it's time to "deal with the real problems".

In August, the USA slapped sanctions on an array of Turkish officials and on some goods, sending Turkish currency into freefall.

The Americans, a Turkish diplomat told MEE, drew a line during the talks and told Ankara: "We have no more to give or to negotiate, release Brunson and let's start talking then".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has resisted US demands for Brunson's release, insisting that the courts are independent.

While Brunson was detained, the Trump administration made sure Turkey knew the US meant business by imposing tariffs on Turkish imports and slapping financial sanctions on the country, putting a noticeable dent on the Turkish economy. President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were instrumental in the good news. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and others for their intervention.

Pence also tweeted about Brunson's release. She says the church will have a welcome home party for Brunson sometime.

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. He was officially sentenced to three years and one month in prison, but was released because he had already served two years in detention.

His wife, who lived in Turkey with Brunson, was afraid to leave the country during his imprisonment because she was afraid she would not be allowed to return, Tillis told McClatchy in April.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in late September that Brunson "could be released this month" and indicated again on Wednesday that he could be released soon. "We praise God for this wonderful turn of events and thank the many people who worked on his behalf, including high-ranking officials within the Trump administration and influential and committed attorneys", Save The Persecuted Christians Director Dede Laugesen said in a statement.

Trump has been following the news closely this morning, with multiple tweets about Brunson.

Under the agreement made between senior White House officials and the Turkish government, Brunson should be released after specific charges are dropped against him at his next court hearing on Friday.

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