Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey, Wednesday, July 25, 2018 An American pastor who had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionage charges was released Wednesday and will be put under house arrest as his trial continues. Andrew Craig Brunson, 50, an evangelical pastor originally from Black Mountain, North Carolina, was let out of jail to serve home detention because of "health problems," Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)

Pence: US will sanction Turkey unless American pastor freed

July 26, 2018 - 9:34 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is threatening NATO ally Turkey with economic sanctions over a detained American pastor held on terror and espionage charges.

Pence said Thursday that if Turkey does not take immediate action to free Andrew Craig Brunson, "the United States of America will impose severe economic sanctions on Turkey." He spoke at the close of a three-day conference on religious freedom.

Brunson, 50, an evangelical Christian pastor originally from North Carolina, was let out of jail Wednesday, after 1 1/2 years, to serve house arrest because of "health problems," according to Turkey's official Anadolu news agency.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly demanded Brunson's release and said on Twitter last week that the pastor's detention was "a total disgrace."

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