TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The Second High Penal Court in the western province of Izmir rejected Andrew Brunson’s plea for release, and instead decided to continue listening to the testimonies of witnesses in the next hearing scheduled for October 12.
The court then ruled to move Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, from prison to house arrest, citing his health problems.
It also banned the pastor from leaving Turkey, and imposed a judicial control decision.
Live video footage broadcast by the private Turkish-language NTV television news network showed Brunson being put into a vehicle outside Kiriklar Prison in Izmir and then driven away guided by a police motorbike escort.
He arrived at his home to cheering crowds and members of the press.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hailed Brunson’s release to house arrest, but said it was “not enough.”
Pompeo said “no credible evidence” had been presented against the pastor and called on Turkey to resolve the case in a “fair” way.
Brunson was arrested in December 2016 and later indicted on charges of having links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group and movement of the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of having masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Brunson has denied the charges, calling them “shameful and disgusting.”
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the pastor’s release.
Last month, the US Senate passed a bill, including a measure that prohibits Turkey from buying F-35 all-weather stealth multirole jet fighters because of Brunson’s imprisonment and Ankara’s planned purchase of Russian-made S-400 air defense missile systems.
Source: Press TV