Istanbul (AFP) – Turkish prosecutors have demanded a life sentence for an American pastor accused of being a member of the group blamed for the 2016 failed coup, in a case that has raised tensions with Washington, reviews mentioned Tuesday.
Andrew Brunson, who ran a church within the western metropolis of Izmir, was detained by the Turkish authorities in October 2016 after which remanded in custody.
He’s charged within the indictment with belonging to the management of the group of preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says masterminded the failed coup in 2016, the Dogan information company mentioned.
Gulen, who relies within the US state of Pennsylvania and who Turkey needs to see extradited to face trial, denies the fees.
The case of Brunson has turn into one among a number of sticking factors in relations between Turkey and its NATO ally. It has been raised by President Donald Trump in talks with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan had in September 2017 controversially prompt the USA might alternate Gulen for Brunson, a suggestion that was dismissed by Washington.
“They are saying ‘give us the pastor’. You’ve a preacher (Gulen) there. Give him to us, and we’ll attempt (Brunson) and provides him again,” Erdogan mentioned then.
The evangelical pastor was initially detained alongside together with his spouse Norine though she was launched in December 2016.
As soon as the courtroom accepts the indictment, a date for the trial will probably be set.
The indictment, issued some one-and-a-half years after Brunson was first detained, highlights the severity of the case.
However there have been instances the place the discharge of an indictment, particularly in a case involving a foreigner, can velocity its decision.
German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel was launched on February 16 after over a yr in jail on the identical day as prosectors issued an indictment charging him with terror propaganda.
Regardless of hopes for a warming when Trump got here to energy, Turkey-US relations have soured badly over American help for Kurdish militia in Syria and the detention of two Turkish nationals working for US missions in Turkey.