Turkish prosecutor calls for end of house arrest for US pastor

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    A Turkish prosecutor called for a jail sentence of 10 years for a US Christian pastor on Friday, and also asked the court to lift judicial controls, a move that would allow Andrew Brunson to leave the country immediately.

    If the court agrees to the requests, Brunson could return back to the United States immediately and thus end the friction over his case that caused a crisis in relations between NATO allies Ankara and Washington.

    With Washington slapping sanctions on Ankara, the crisis also sparked a crash in the Turkish lira in August that exposed Turkey’s economic fragility.

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    The US pastor has been at the centre of a dispute between Turkey and the United States over his detention nearly two years ago.

    Brunson, 50, was arrested in 2016 as part of the government crackdown in the wake of a failed coup bid. He has been house arrest since July.

    The US evangelical preacher was accused of links with Kurdish rebels and supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the cleric blamed by Turkey for the failed coup attempt.

    Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for more than 20 years, has denied the charges and maintained his innocence.

    The pastor’s trial had become the flashpoint in a diplomatic row between Ankara and Washington, triggering US tariffs and sanctions against Turkey and condemnation from President Donald Trump.

    The US has maintained he is held unjustly and has repeatedly called for his release.

    The Brunson case has grown into the biggest of several disputes between the NATO allies and has been one of the factors in a 40 percent slide in value of the Turkish lira this year. 

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has insisted that he had no sway over the judiciary and that the courts would decide on Brunson’s fate.

    View the original article: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/turkish-prosecutor-seeks-10-year-jail-term-pastor-181012073353582.html

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