ANKARA (dpa-AFX) - A Turkish court on Friday ordered American pastor Andrew Brunson to be released from house arrest, drawing praise from President Donald Trump.
Brunson was convicted of terror-related charges but will be allowed to leave Turkey due to good behavior and the time he has already served.
'My thoughts and prayers are with Pastor Brunson, and we hope to have him safely back home soon!' Trump said in a post on Twitter in response to the news.
Brunson was detained on espionage and terrorism charges in October of 2016 in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
After serving almost two years in prison, Brunson was placed under house arrest on July 25th for health reasons.
Tony Perkins, commissioner of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, called the decision by the Turkish government 'good news.'
'We celebrate along with the millions of Americans who have been praying for Pastor Brunson's release,' Perkins said in a statement.
He added, 'President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Secretary Pompeo are to be commended for their resolve, not only in defending Pastor Brunson but in defending the fundamental freedom of all people in all places.'
Brunson's detention has led to increased tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, with Trump imposing sanctions on the NATO ally after negotiations for the pastor's release fell apart in August.
(Photo: American Center for Law and Justice)
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