By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — A higher court in Turkey’s Izmir Province has rejected an appeal to dismiss the charges against a U.S. pastor whose prosecution has provoked tensions in U.S.-Turkish relations.
The court on August 17 upheld an August 15 lower-court ruling rejecting the appeal to release pastor Andrew Brunson and to rescind the travel ban against him.
Brunson is being tried on espionage and terrorism-related charges that he rejects. He was detained in October 2016 and was moved from pretrial detention to house arrest in July.
He faces up to 35 years in prison.
U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly pressed Ankara to release Brunson, whom he describes as a “great patriot” who is being held “hostage.”
On August 11, Trump said he had doubled import tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum, sending the Turkish lira into a tailspin and prompting Ankara to impose countersanctions on some U.S. products including rice, vehicles, alcohol, coal, and cosmetics.