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US politicians demand sanctions against Turkey over detained pastor Andrew Brunson

James Lankford, a Republican, and Democrat Jeanna Shaheen said the measure should be included in next year's budget unless Andrew Brunson is freed.

In a joint statement, they said: "Turkish officials who participate in the detainment of any innocent American citizen should face international consequences, and the actions against Pastor Brunson, in particular, qualify as hostage-taking."

Lankford and Shaheen sit on a sub-committee within the House Committee on Appropriations - a body responsible for laws allocating federal funds prior to expenditure from the US Treasury.

They went on to say: "We desire cooperation and strengthening ties between our countries, but the US Government has a responsibility to ensure the safety and welfare of its people."

Numerous senior political figures have spoken out in defence of Mr Brunson in recent weeks and months, including US President Donald Trump.


Donald Trump tweeted earlier this week: "Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason.

"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!"

The 50-year-old is on trial in the Mediterranean city of Izmir, accused of links to two organisations which Ankara blames for a failed coup in Turkey almost two years ago.

Supporters of Andrew Brunson - who denies the charges against him - say the missionary has been targeted with false allegations specifically because of his Christian faith.

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