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Pastor Brunson happy to be home with family, lawyer says

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American pastor Andrew Brunson, whose trial has been the focal point of recent tension between the US and Turkey, feels happy to be with his family while under house arrest instead of being kept behind bars, the Hürriyet Daily News reported on Friday, citing his lawyer.

“He is pretty happy to be in his home [in İzmir] rather than in prison. He said that. However, after the rejection of our application to lift the decision of house arrest, we will continue to pursue our demands for his release,” Brunson’s lawyer İsmail Cem Halavut said.

“He is happy to be with his family,” he added.

Brunson had been in pretrial detention since October 2016 on terrorism and espionage charges until July 25, when a court in İzmir ruled to move him to house arrest, citing health concerns. He faces 35 years in prison if convicted.

His appeal to lift house arrest was rejected by a court on July 31.

The İzmir Second High Criminal Court said in its ruling that the credible “evidence” against the pastor had not changed and that therefore it did not see fit to release him.

Brunson’s next hearing is scheduled for Oct. 12.

The US announced financial sanctions against Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Aug. 1 over the Brunson case.

US Vice President Mike Pence said the US sanctions would continue until the pastor is freed.

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