Turkish court rejects US pastor Brunson's appeal for release

Turkish court rejects US pastor Brunson's appeal for release

Banu Şen - İZMİR

A Turkish court has rejected an appeal for United States Christian pastor Andrew Brunson to be released from house arrest during his trial on terrorism charges.

Brunson’s lawyer, İsmail Cem Halavurt, filed the demand on Aug. 14 around a week after his previous appeal was rejected by the Turkish court in the western province of İzmir.

The 2nd Penal Court in İzmir rejected the appeal on Aug. 15 and sent the defendant's petition to an upper court. 

Brunson, who has been living in Turkey for more than two decades, was accused of helping supporters of the U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen who Turkish authorities say masterminded the 2016 coup attempt in which 250 people were killed.

He was also charged with supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which was designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey and the U.S.

The continued detention of Brunson has become a lightning rod in strained relations between Turkey and the U.S., leading Washington to slap economic and political sanctions on its NATO ally. 

The pastor was released for house arrest on July 25. The court ordered him to wear an electronic bracelet at all times and barred him from traveling outside of the country.

His next hearing as part of the trial is scheduled for Oct. 12.

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