American Presbyterian pastor Andrew Brunson, imprisoned for over two years in Turkey on trumped up espionage charges, and more recently held under house arrest, has finally been released today. Exact details are not known about a secret deal negotiated between the Trump Administration and Turkish authorities, but what is known is that President Trump was personally involved and concerned about pastor Brunson and his fate.
President Trump tweeted today:
PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED. WILL BE HOME SOON! Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
Brunson was convicted by a Turkish court on Friday of terrorism charges concerning the crackdown on dissidents by Turkish president Erdogan in 2016 and sentenced to time served. He has spent over 2 years now in detention. Some reports stated that the false charges were dropped and unknown witnesses recanted their testimony. Despite the sham proceedings surrounding his case, pastor Andrew and his wife are now expected to stop in Germany for a medical exam before returning to the U.S.
Fox News stated the following: “The Turkish judge’s ruling ended a tense diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and Turkey that began after Brunson’s October 2016 detention on terror and treason charges. Turkey targeted the 50-year-old pastor as part of a massive government crackdown following a failed coup months earlier. Brunson was officially sentenced to three years and one month in prison for the conviction; but, because he had already served two years in detention, he wasn’t required to spend any more time behind bars.”
Brunson told the judge, “I am an innocent man. I love Jesus and I love Turkey.”
The Brunsons are expected to leave Turkey immediately. He is in good health and has maintained his innocence during his entire ordeal. He was facing up to 35 years in prison if convicted. He had declared in court “I am an innocent man. I know why I am here. I am here to suffer in Jesus’s name.”