American president, Donald Trump has threatened to impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson.
In a tweet, Trump extolled Pastor Brunson to be a great christian, family man and wonderful human. he said the innocent man of faith is suffering greatly and warned that he be released immediately.
The United States will impose large sanctions on Turkey for their long time detainment of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a great Christian, family man and wonderful human being. He is suffering greatly. This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2018
The pastor has been held in a Turkish prison for nearly two years and earlier today was allowed to remain under house arrest as his trial on terror and espionage charges continues.
Andrew Brunson, an Evangelical pastor from North Carolina who has done missionary work in Turkey for 23 years, has been the subject of calls from President Donald Trump and other U.S. government officials for his release.
Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo confirmed Brunson’s move out of prison in a tweet Wednesday, calling it “long overdue news,” but demanded that the Turkish government “resolve his case immediately in a transparent and fair manner.”
We welcome long overdue news that Pastor Brunson has been moved from prison to house arrest in #Turkey, but it is not enough. We have seen no credible evidence against Mr. Brunson, and call on Turkish authorities to resolve his case immediately in a transparent and fair manner. pic.twitter.com/So2A4hfinZ
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 25, 2018
Brunson, 50, has been charged with espionage as well as aiding outlawed Kurdish militants and a Turkish cleric based in the U.S. who has been accused of fomenting a 2016 coup attempt – allegations that he has denied and that the U.S. has said are not credible.
He has been in custody since October 2016 and faces up to 35 years in prison.
Vice President Mike Pence spoke with Brunson by phone Wednesday night, saying the “entire” Trump administration “will keep working to secure his full release.” Pompeo added in a statement late Wednesday that Brunson’s transfer to house arrest was a “positive development,” but “not enough.”