The Turkish government has released American Pastor Andrew Brunson from prison, where he has been detained for 21 months, and has allowed him to return to his home in Turkey, according to a release from the American Center of Law and Justice. Brunson, who is originally from North Carolina and lived in the country for two decades, was imprisoned because of his Christian faith and for the alleged crime of “Christianization” in the majority Muslim country. Hurriyet Daily News reports that he is also charged with being associated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the Fethullahist Terror Organization—which the government believes is behind the country’s failed 2016 coup. The newspaper also reports that the pastor will be under house arrest, and was granted the move on Thursday because of his “health problems.” The ACLJ says that this is a first step to letting Brunson return to the U.S., and states that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “played a critical role” in securing the move. If found guilty, Brunson faces up to 35 years in prison.
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