Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   13 December

US Senators threaten Turkey with sanctions if Pastor Andrew Brunson is not released

YEREVAN, APRIL 20, ARMENPRESS. US Senators James Lankford and Jeanne Shaheen called on imposing sanctions against Ankara if American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is on trial in Turkey on charges of taking part in the 2016 military coup attempt, is not released, TASS reports citing the Hill.

In a joint statement the two Senators criticized the Turkish government’s actions against Pastor Brunson and threaten to impose economic sanctions on Ankara as part of a Fiscal Year 2019 spending bill if he is not released in the nearest future. “Turkish officials who participate in the arrest of any innocent American citizen must be held internationally accountable, and the actions against Pastor Brunson are described, in particular, as hostage-taking”, the statement said.

Earlier on April 18 US President Donald Trump urged the Turkish authorities to release Pastor Andrew Brunson. “Pastor Andrew Brunson, a fine gentleman and Christian leader in the United States, is on trial and being persecuted in Turkey for no reason. 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!”, Trump tweeted.

Washington has called for Brunson’s release while Erdogan suggested last year his fate could be linked to that of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose extradition Ankara has repeatedly sought to face charges over the coup attempt.

English –translator/editor: Aneta Harutyunyan

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