The photograph of Brunson published on the 18th month of his arrest on Discerning the Times
The US Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, who was behind bars since December 2016, has been placed under house arrest on probation.
At his third hearing which was held on July 18, the İzmir 2nd Heavy Penal Court ruled that the arrest of Pastor Brunson shall continue and adjourned his fourth hearing to October 12, 2018.
The attorney of Brunson, İsmail Cem Halavurt objected to the ruling of the court by referring to Brunson's health problems. The court board evaluated Halavurt's objection and ruled that Brunson be put under house arrest with an international travel ban.
Brunson has been facing up to 15 years in prison on charge of "committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organization as a non-member" and up to 20 years in prison on charge of "espionage."
Trump denounced Brunson's arrest on Twitter
The US President Donald Trump denounced the ruling for continuation of US Pastor Brunson's arrest with the following tweet on July 19:
"A total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected U.S. Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison. He has been held hostage far too long. @RT_Erdogan should do something to free this wonderful Christian husband & father. He has done nothing wrong, and his family needs him!"
Speaking to the CBN, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said, "It is time for the Pastor Brunson to come back home and be free."
Bill at US Senate proposing "financial limitation"
On July 18, six US senators introduced a bill at the US Senate that limits Turkey to borrow from international financial institutions except humanitarian aid until "Turkey ends unjust detention of US citizens."
Concerning the current debt of Turkey, the bill stated, "Turkey relies heavily on loans from both the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). In 2017, Turkey ranked second among all IFC recipients with $927 million in new long-term commitments. Turkey was the largest EBRD borrower in 2017, securing about $1.8 billion in new commitments."
On July 24, the The US Senate and House of Representatives reached an agreement on the National Defense Authorization Act, which has also foreseen the temporary suspension of the delivery of F-35 jets to Turkey.
"You have a priest, too"
Turkey learned the arrest of Brunson during the meeting of the President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and US President Donald Trump on July 17, 2017. At the meeting, Trump demanded that the Pastor Brunson be released from prison.
As for President Erdoğan, he proposed the exchange of US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, the head of Gülen Community, which is charged with plotting the coup attempt on Jul 15, 2016, with Brunson.
"The US wants extradition of a priest from us. You have a priest too. You hand him over us as well", Erdoğan said. (PT/SD)
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