Trump urges Turkey to release jailed American pastor

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Washington, April 18 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has called on Turkey to release an American pastor being held prisoner in that country that accused him of being a spy, the media reported.

“Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the US, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason,” Trump tweeted late on Tuesday.

“They call him a spy, but I am more a spy than he is. Hopefully he will be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs,” he added.

Brunson has been working in Turkey for 23 years as leader of the Resurrection Church, The Hill magazine reported.

On Monday, a Turkish court rejected Brunson’s appeal to be released and ordered that he remain jailed for another month.

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He was detained 18 months ago for an alleged connection to a failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016, The New York Times reported.

He is accused of aiding the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which opposes Erdogan and the ruling party, and of having a connection to Fethullah Gulen, an Islamist preacher who Turkey claims orchestrated the coup attempt.

He has denied the allegations.

–IANS

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