Andrew Brunson, imprisoned in Turkey since a 2016 coup attempt, faces a maximum of 35 years in prison for pursuing goals of two of Ankara's sworn enemies, state-run Anadolu news agency reported: us -based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of masterminding the botched putsch, and the autonomy-seeking Kurdish PKK group, branded a terrorist organization by the USA, the European Union and Turkey.
Mr. Brunson faces far more serious charges.
Washington has known for Brunson's re lease though Erdogan suggested this past season his fate might possibly be associated with that of US -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose extradition Ankara has sought to face charges within the coup endeavor.
Ankara blames Gulen for organizing the failed coup against Erdogan in 2016, a claim Gulen has vehemently denied. "Give him to us, and we will try (Brunson) and give him back", Erdogan said then.
An American pastor Monday went on trial in Turkey on terror-related charges after spending the last one-and-a-half years behind bars, in a case that has increased friction between Ankara and Washington.
The Brunson case has further hiked tensions between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Turkey and the United States, with US President Donald Trump raising the issue in talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The case will resume May 7. "He is a hostage of the Turkish regime", wrote Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.
"They say "give us the pastor". "But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that the USA first return cleric Fethullah Gulen".
Sekulow is also one of Trump's lawyers for the Russian investigation, and Trump has personally raised this case with Erdogan, according to the White House. A USA court on Monday adjourned the trial of the banker until May 7.
"This is a special, delicate trial and if we look at other trials that have been held in this last period, we see that some people have been condemned without enough evidence, so it's a risk we have to consider". "We hope that the judicial system in Turkey will resolve his case in a timely, fair, and transparent manner".
Monday's court session is going to be appreciated by NY senator Thom Tillis and also USA envoy for religious freedom Sam Brownback. If anything, I think the information that has been presented today creates a more compelling reason why he is innocent, ' Tillis told reporters after the ruling.
"He is here to serve the people of Turkey and the Christian faith", he said.