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Pastor Andrew Brunson is ‘in good shape’ after release from Turkey: Trump

October 12, 2018

President Trump said Friday that Pastor Andrew Brunson is “in good shape” after his release from two years imprisonment in Turkey.

“We’re very honored to have him back with us,” Mr. Trump told reporters in Cincinnati before a campaign event, calling the pastor’s release “good news.”

He said Mr. Brunson “suffered greatly” during his captivity on charges of fomenting terrorism.

The president said “there was no deal at all” in gaining his release. He said he will likely host the pastor at the White House on Saturday.

A Turkish court sentenced Mr. Brunson Friday to time already served, and allowed him to return to the U.S. He departed Turkey late Friday, and was expected to stop at a U.S. military base in Germany to be checked out before continuing on to the U.S.

He had been detained since October 2016, and was allowed to spend the past six months under house arrest.

Mr. Brunson and the U.S. say the charges against him were phony. The administration put sanctions on top Turkish officials to pressure Ankara for his release, and Mr. Trump also hit Turkey with tariffs.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders commended “the strength shown by Pastor Brunson and his family over a difficult two years.” She thanked lawmakers and U.S. diplomats who pressed for his release.

“We remain deeply concerned about the continued detention of other United States citizens in Turkey and around the world, and urge the resolution of all these cases in a transparent and fair manner,” she said.

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