On Wednesday, a Turkish court rejected another appeal to release U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, whose detainment has ignited a trade war between the U.S. and Turkey.
According to AFP, the court in the city of Izmir ruled that Brunson would remain under house arrest over terror and espionage charges that may result in him facing 35 years in prison.
Brunson was moved recently from detainment in a prison to house arrest due to health reasons.
Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have pushed for Brunson’s release in recent weeks, going as far as imposing steel and aluminum sanctions on our NATO ally, who has imprisoned Brunson for nearly two years.
Trump expressed his support for Brunson last month. “A total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected U.S. Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison,” the president tweeted. “He has been held hostage far too long. [Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan] should do something to free this wonderful Christian husband & father. He has done nothing wrong, and his family needs him!”
Erdogan responded to the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration with a boycott of U.S. electronic goods, including iPhones.
Turkey’s ambassador and U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton were reportedly in private talks on Monday to discuss the Brunson situation.