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Turkish court releases U.S. pastor Brunson from house arrest
2018-12-13 

A Turkish court on Friday decided to release U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson from house arrest, a development that is helpful in easing tension with Washington, local media said.

In this undated file photo, Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, stands in Izmir, Turkey. [File photo: DHA-Depo Photos via AP]

In this undated file photo, Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, stands in Izmir, Turkey. [File photo: DHA-Depo Photos via AP]

The court in the western city of Izmir, following an hours-long hearing, lifted the travel ban on the pastor in the province of Izmir, while sentencing him to three years, one month and 15 days in jail over charges of being a member of a terror group, the NTV broadcaster said.

Brunson, however, is expected to be freed and can travel abroad when taking into consideration the period he has spent in jail up to now, NTV said.

The 50-year-old pastor, who has been living in Turkey for more than two decades, was detained two years ago over espionage charges and links to a network led by the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Gulen is accused of masterminding a coup bid in Turkey in July 2016, in which 250 people were killed, while the PKK was outlawed for its armed struggle against the Turkish state. 

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