Turkish prosecutor appeals for pastor Brunson’s sentence

A Turkish prosecutor in the coastal province of Izmir has appealed to the regional court for the reversal of the sentence given to the U.S. Pastor Andrew Brunson, Diken news site reported on Friday.

After almost two years in jail, a Turkish court sentenced the American pastor in October to more than three years in prison on terrorism charges, but ruled he had already served his sentence after two years in detention and lifted Brunson's travel ban.

Brunson, whose imprisonment caused a diplomatic row between Turkey and United States over the summer, returned to his homeland immediately.

Brunson’s lawyer later applied to regional court of appeals for the reversal of the sentence, while the prosecutor asked the court to submit the justification of its verdict.

The court said in its detailed decision that Brunson, who led an evangelist church in Izmir for more than 20 years, was supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Syrian People Protection Units (YPG), and was imposing his opinions on his congregation.

The court also said that Brunson’s opinions regarding a coup attempt in 2016 were similar to Gülen movement, a religious group Turkish government accuses of orchestrating the coup. 

After examining the detailed decision, the prosecutor appealed on Friday to a regional higher court for the reversal of the decision.