Brunson is happy to be at home with his family: Lawyer
Banu Şen – İZMİR
American pastor Andrew Brunson, whose case has been the focal point of tension between the U.S. and Turkey, feels happy to be with his family in house arrest instead of being kept behind bars, his lawyer said on Aug. 2.
“He is pretty happy to be in his house [in İzmir] rather than being in prison. He said that. However, after the rejection of our application to lift the decision of house arrest we will renew our claim in the legal term,” Brunson’s lawyer İsmail Cem Halavut said.
“He is happy to be with his family,” he added.
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 appeal to be released during his trial was rejected by court on July 31.
The İzmir Second Heavy Penalty Court said in its ruling the “strong criminal suspicions” against the suspect had not changed their nature.
Brunson’s next hearing as part of the trial is scheduled for Oct. 12.
The U.S. announced sanctions against Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Aug. 1 over the Brunson case.
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 outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen’s illegal network, referred to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) by authorities and which Ankara blames for the coup attempt in July 2016.