Turkey’s higher court refuses to release US pastor

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Istanbul, Aug 17 (IANS) The Third Penal Court in Izmir on Friday rejected an appeal for the release of US pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest during his trial, the media reported.

Brunson’s lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt filed an appeal earlier this week for the second time in the Second Penal Court in Izmir to lift his client’s house arrest and travel ban.

The court rejected Halavurt’s petition and sent it to the Third Penal Court on Wednesday.

The 50-year-old pastor, who has been living in Turkey for more than two decades, was detained two years ago for espionage and having links to a network led by US-based outlawed cleric Fethullah Gulen and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

He faces up to 35 years in prison if found guilty. Gulen is accused by Ankara of being behind a failed coup in July 2016.

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Brunson’s next hearing is scheduled for October 12.

–IANS

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