NewsOct 12, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall
After two excruciating years, Pastor Andrew Brunson, an American pastor currently jailed for alleged espionage in Turkey, may finally be released pending a deal between the Trump administration and Turkish authorities.
According to NBC News, two senior administration officials confirmed that the agreement reached with Turkey should lead to several charges against Brunson being dropped, and ultimately his release, at his Friday court hearing. While the details of the agreement have not been made public, some sources claim it includes a commitment by the U.S. to ease economic pressure on Turkey.
While this is wonderful news, the White House is still cautiously reserving any celebrations until Brunson sets foot outside of prison. The NBC report adds that Trump administration officials aren’t “fully confident” that Turkey will hold up the deal after a series of talks with Turkish authorities ended up stalled and uneventful.
Trumped-up charges of conspiring to overthrow the Turkish government led to Pastor Brunson being imprisoned nearly two years ago. Increasing pressure from the US government on Turkey saw him transferred to house arrest in July. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been at the forefront of diplomatic efforts to free Brunson, recently declared that Brunson “should have been released last month,” and that he expects “he could be released this month."
“He should be released today in fact,” Pompeo said. “We have talked to the Turks. They know the expectations... Pastor Brunson and the other U.S. persons that are being held by Turkey all need to be released by Turkey. That needs to be done immediately."
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