US pastor in Turkey appeals for release, lifting of travel ban - Lawyer

Istanbul, Turkey Published: Aug 14, 2018, 03:54 PM(IST)

US pastor Andrew Brunson. Photograph:( Reuters )

An American Christian pastor standing trial in Turkey on terrorism charges has appealed again to a Turkish court to release him from house arrest and lift his travel ban, his lawyer told Reuters on Tuesday.

Relations between the two NATO allies have spiralled into a full-blown crisis over the trial of Christian pastor Andrew Brunson, who was held for 21 months in a Turkish prison until his transfer to house arrest last month - a move Washington dismissed as insufficient.

The appeal document seen by Reuters said the court should halt any unlawful political interventions and lift judicial control provisions imposed on Andrew Brunson.

Brunson, who has been living in Turkey for more than two decades, was accused of helping supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based cleric who Turkish authorities say masterminded the 2016 coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan.

"The court should prevent unlawful political interventions by lifting judicial control provisions on the defendant," the document said.

Turkish lira plunged on concerns over the deepening rift between Washington and Ankara, hitting a record low of 7.24 against US dollar and weakening some 45 per cent so far this year.

The United States imposed sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled customs tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports after Brunson was placed in house arrest.

Brunson's lawyer, Ismail Cem Halavurt, said the court had up to seven days to decide. Brunson, who faces up to 35 years in jail if found guilty, denies the charges.

Brunson's next hearing as part of the trial is scheduled for October 12.

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