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US pastor facing decades of imprisonment in Turkey ordered to remain behind bars

by Tola Mbakwe

Brunson, who led a church in the city of Izmir for 25 years, was accused of being involved with terror organisation that tried to overthrow the Turkish government in July 2016.

According to World Watch monitor, the court heard testimony from four witnesses: three for the prosecution, and one for the defence. However, Brunson's lawyer's request for his first choice defence witness was dismissed, so another witness appeared instead. 

Ahead of Wednesday's hearing, the third in the case,  Brunson's lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt said he had high hopes. 

"We have been saying that he must be released under the law since day one," Halavurt toold Reuters. "We expect him to be released following the completion of the evidence collection."

US President Donald Trump and senators have urged Turkey to release Brunson.

American senators Jeanne Shaheen and Lindsey Graham visited Andrew Brunson in prison on 29th June.

They also had a positive meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which they appealed for Brunson's release.

Brunson's supporters claim he is being held as a political prisoner to spite the US for holding Fethullah Gülen, a preacher Turkey claims is responsible for the failed coup.

Brunson's next hearing is scheduled for 12th October. 

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