Turkish prosecutor who indicted Brunson reassigned

Turkish prosecutor who indicted Brunson reassigned

ANKARA

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül

The Turkish prosecutor who indicted U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson has been reassigned to a new position. 

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül confirmed local media reports in a press conference in Ankara on Sept. 6, while downplaying the significance of the decision.

The prosecutor was reportedly removed from the anti-terror bureau and assigned to the bureau of cybercrimes by a chief prosecutor’s office which also reassigned five more prosecutors.

“He was the prosecutor who had prepared the Brunson indictment. He was not the prosecutor of the case itself. This is a routine procedure. Such actions can be taken out of necessity,” Gül said. “The decision was taken by the İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office. Justice is served through the system, not persons.”

Brunson was kept in jail since October 2016 on terrorism and spying charges until July 25 when a court in the Aegean province of İzmir ruled to move him to house arrest, citing health concerns. He faces jail time of 35 years in total.

His appeals demanding to be released during his trial were rejected by the court. His next hearing as part of the trial is scheduled for Oct. 12.

A Christian pastor from North Carolina who has lived in Turkey for more than two decades, he was indicted on charges of having links with the illegal PKK and U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen’s illegal network, referred to as FETÖ by authorities and which Ankara blames for the coup attempt in July 2016.

The U.S. announced sanctions against Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Aug. 1 over the Brunson case, triggering a diplomatic crisis with Ankara.

Trump says he is ‘very disappointed in Erdoğan’ over pastor Brunson