Friday Turkey prisoner American pastor Andrew Brunson was convicted of aiding terrorism, but a Judge sentenced him to just time served and ordered his immediate release, The Washington Post reported.
Minutes after the verdict, President Trump tweeted @ 9:59 a.m. that his thoughts and prayers were with the pastor.
Pastor Brunson’s sentence was three years, one month, and fifteen days in prison, but according to The New York Times, the judge lifted all judicial controls, which included a ban on travel allowing the pastor the ability to leave the country immediately. The Times article says this reduction was for “good behavior and in view of time served.”
According to the article pastor Brunson left the courthouse shortly after the verdict. American officials say he’ll return to his home in Izmir before he returns to the United States which should be sometime Saturday.
The article also explains that pastor Brunson was “one of two dozen Americans detained in the aftermath of a failed coup in 2016 and was charged with aiding terrorist groups and espionage.” Pastor Brunson, 50, has denied all charges.
Reverend William Devlin of New York, who the Times article explains had attended every hearing is quoted as saying, “Thanks be to God. Pastor Brunson is going home. We thank the court, we thank Turkey and we thank President Erdogan.”
Pastor Brunson had been held for two years in a Turkish prison until July of this year when he was placed under house arrest.
President Trump tweeted in all caps @ 10:26 a.m. that pastor Brunson “WILL BE HOME SOON.”
According to the linked Washington Post article, the deal according to U.S. officials who said Thursday, “would include the lifting of U.S. sanctions in exchange for reduced charges that would allow Brunson to either be sentenced for time served or serve any remaining sentence in the United States.” According to the article the deal was reached on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly held last month.