Despite pressure from the United States to release American pastor Andrew Brunson after over two years of imprisonment, a Turkish court rejected the second legal appeal for his freedom on Wednesday.
Brunson’s lawyer renewed an appeal Tuesday for his release and for his travel ban to be lifted.
Turkish media outlets reported Wednesday that the appeal had been rejected.
The Christian pastor had worked in Turkey for over two decades preaching the Christian faith.
In October 2016, he was arrested on false charges of espionage and terrorism, and went to jail.
One month ago, 50-year-old Brunson was transferred from the Turkish jail to his home in Turkey on house arrest, citing health concerns.
If convicted, the pastor may face up to 35 years in Turkish prison.
President Donald Trump continues to voice his support for the pastor.
Just before Brunson’s return home on house arrest, the president expressed his extreme disapproval of the entire situation.
“A total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected U.S. Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison,” Trump tweeted on July 18. “He has been held hostage far too long. @RT_Erdogan should do something to free this wonderful Christian husband & father. He has done nothing wrong, and his family needs him!”
Last week, the president sent out a tweet authorizing the doubling of tariffs on steel and aluminum to 50 percent and 20 percent respectively, causing the Turkish Lira to lose a third of its value in just days, as reported by The New York Times.
“I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” he wrote.
“The president has a great deal of frustration (about) the pastor not being released,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday, according to Breitbart.
Brunson’s next hearing is scheduled for October 12, and U.S. government officials and countless supporters continue to rally behind him for the resolution of his case.
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