US pastor faces espionage, terror charges in Turkey trial

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"We want to see it resolved and we want to see him released", Brownback added.

The pastor's daughter, Jacqueline Brunson, also went before the U.N. Human Rights Council, calling the accusations against him "absurd". Pastor Brunson is an innocent religious leader whose imprisonment for over 18 months on false allegations is an abomination.

Izmir's prosecutor's office said that sufficient evidence was obtained to charge Brunson with aiding armed terrorist organisations and obtaining confidential government information for political and military espionage.

Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, has been detained by Turkish authorities since October 2016.

Andrew Brunson, a U.S. pastor held for more than a year in Turkey, goes on trial on Monday on charges of aiding terror groups in a case that has raised tensions between Washington and Ankara.

High-level US officials, including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have called for Pastor Brunson's release.

In September a year ago, Erdogan suggested that Turkey could free Brunson if Washington handed over Gulen, raising the idea of a swap deal. But they say, 'give us the pastor.' You have another pastor in your hands.

At the Resurrection Church in Izmir, the congregation prayed on Sunday for Brunson, and his wife Norine read out a message in which he talked of the darkness and silence of his detention.


"I'm not sure exactly why my dad was chosen", she said.

The opposition, Turkey's Western allies and local and global rights groups accuse the government of using the coup attempt as a pretext to bypass parliament and silence opposition in the country.

If convicted, he faces two separate terms of 15 years and 20 years in prison, his lawyer Cem Halavurt told AFP. I am a Christian.

Turkey has submitted an extradition request to the US for Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, but so far it not been granted. I would not join an Islamic movement'.

The US, Britain and France fired more than 100 missiles at Syria on Friday following evidence that President Bashar Al Assad was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on the Damascus suburbs of Eastern Ghouta, using at least chlorine gas.

Brunson reacted with emotion, telling his wife Norine in English: 'I am going insane.

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

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