Turkey moves USA pastor from prison to house arrest

Turkey moves USA pastor from prison to house arrest

Turkey moves USA pastor from prison to house arrest

An American pastor who has been in custody for almost two years on terror and espionage charges will be put under house arrest as his trial continues, Turkey's official news agency said Wednesday. Mattis tries to explain Trump's Iran tweet MORE called the decision to let pastor Andrew Brunson out of prison "long overdue", but cautioned that it is "not enough".

NBC spoke with Brunson's lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, who says Brunson is not allowed to leave his house under any condition other than to go to interviews or court hearings.

"In Turkey, Pastor Andrew Brunson remains wrongfully imprisoned on false charges", Brownback told foreign delegates and civil society representatives.

USA pastor Andrew Brunson reacts as he arrives at his home after being released from the prison in Izmir, Turkey, July 25, 2018.

The Daily Sabah said the Second High Penal Court in Izmir ordered Wednesday that Brunson be moved to his home in Izmir due to "health issues".

Brunson was arrested in the Aegean province of Izmir in December 2016; he was charged with committing crimes, including spying for the PKK terror group and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated coup attempt of July 2016.

Brunson was accused of helping supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the USA -based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan in which 250 people were killed.

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A source in the United States familiar with the developments said the sudden shift came a day before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence had been set to unveil a harsh new policy on Turkey.

Pompeo said "no credible evidence" had been presented against the pastor and called on Ankara to resolve the case in a "fair" way.

The source, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the matter, said US and Turkish officials had been working on a deal that would lead to Brunson's release, with Washington expecting him to be freed at the trial last week.

The same court on July 18 ordered that Brunson remain imprisoned until an October 12 hearing. But the Turkish parliament on Wednesday passed a new "anti-terror" law that strengthens the authorities' powers in detaining suspects and imposing public order.

On July 18, a court had again ordered Brunson to remain in prison, defying growing pressure from the USA authorities for his release and causing dismay among supporters.

Prominent US lawyer Jay Sekulow, who has worked with the Brunson defence, welcomed the move on Twitter as a "critical first step that we believe will result in the freedom" of Brunson.

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