Turkey reiterates refusal to release detained US pastor

By Omer Sut

IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – A Turkish court Friday rejected the appeal for release filed by American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is charged with links to terrorism.

The 3rd High Criminal Court in Izmir ordered the continuation of Brunson’s house arrest and ban on leaving the country.

Ismail Cem Halavurt, Brunson’s lawyer, applied to the higher court after the appeal was also rejected by Izmir's 2nd High Criminal Court on Wednesday.

Recently, the court had allowed Brunson to be moved from jail and placed him under house arrest in view of his "health problems".

Brunson is charged with spying for the PKK — a designated terrorist group in the U.S. and Turkey — and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the defeated July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey which martyred 251 people and injured thousands.

Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations after Washington imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers for not releasing Brunson.

President Donald Trump last week ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.

On Wednesday, in retaliation, Turkey increased tariffs on several U.S.-origin products, including alcohol and tobacco products and cars.

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