President Trump took to Twitter late Tuesday to defend a U.S. pastor being held in a Turkish jail over claims he was involved in the failed coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016. “Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason,” Trump wrote. “They call him a spy, but I am more a spy than he is. Hopefully he will be allowed to come home to his beautiful family where he belongs,” the president said. Brunson, detained 18 months ago over accusations he aided the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, faces up to 35 years in prison in the same country where he spent nearly two decades as a missionary. He appeared in court Monday to appeal for house arrest until his trial next month, but a judge denied his request. U.S. officials have so far been unsuccessful in securing his release.
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