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US Says Imprisoned Pastor Andrew Brunson Is Innocent; Turkey Lacks 'Credible Evidence'

20 April 2018

Posting on Twitter, he said: "Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason".

"I've never done anything against Turkey", Brunson said in court.

Turkey also claims Brunson passed along state secrets and intelligence that might be useful in the event of a war, such as the location of railway stations. Hopefully he will be allowed to come home to his attractive family where he belongs!'

Prosecutors presented a lengthy indictment saying Brunson had been using missionary activities as a cover to work with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a separatist movement blacklisted by Turkey, the US and the European Union as a terrorist organization, as well as the Gulen Movement, labelled as a terrorist group by Ankara.

Brunson reacted emotionally as the ruling was read out, telling his wife Norine in English: "I am going insane".

He had earlier told the judge tearfully: 'I want to return my home. "For 16 months, I have been separated from my wife".

Brunson is being held as a pawn in a hostage negotiation, David Curry of Open Doors USA said in March.

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'I want the whole truth to be revealed. I believe in Turkey's integrity.

And the dustup includes amid worries among your us along with Turkey over the battle in Syria, wherever Turkish officers also have claimed that the intentionally stalling the struggle contrary to Islamic Condition militants. I've been praying for Turkey for 25 years.

"I am a Christian warrior", Brunson mentioned throughout the hearing.

At the first court hearing in the town of Aliağa in Izmir Province, Brunson rejected all the charges against him, firmly denying any involvement in espionage for political or military purposes.

Brunson bluntly rejected the Turkish government's claim that he, as a Christian, would be working for Gulen's group, an Islamic movement.

Gulen denies any role in the failed coup and says his Hizmet - meaning "service" - movement promotes a peaceful form of Islam.

In February, NASA scientist Serkan Golge, a dual national, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years for being a member of Gulen's movement in a conviction denounced by Washington.

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And the dustup comes amid tensions between the USA and Turkey over the conflict in Syria, where Turkish officials have claimed the intentionally stalling the fight against Islamic State militants.

North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedoms, observed the trial, which the court later adjourned until May 7.

"The entire US government is following Mr. Brunson's case closely".

Relations are already strained over American backing for the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria despised by Ankara and the jailing of two employees at American missions in Turkey.

Numbering just several thousand, the Protestant community in overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim Turkey largely comprises converts from Islam, expatriates and refugees.

"The United States cares deeply about our relationship with Turkey", Brownback told reporters during a recess, according to Reuters. Last May in the Moment, " the White House stated in a assembly with President Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, " Trump called for Brunson's launch.

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US Says Imprisoned Pastor Andrew Brunson Is Innocent; Turkey Lacks 'Credible Evidence'