Brunson’s lawyer to appeal to ECtHR if house arrest, travel ban not lifted: report

American pastor Andrew Craig Brunson and his wife Norine Lyn.

İsmail Cem Halavurt, the lawyer for jailed pastor Andrew Brunson, who was transferred from pretrial detention to house arrest last month, said they will appeal to the Turkish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) if the İzmir 3rd High Criminal Court rules to keep Brunson under house arrest and barred from leaving the country, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Thursday.

The appeal was referred to the İzmir 3rd High Criminal Court after it was rejected by the İzmir 2nd High Criminal Court earlier this week. Halavurt pointed out that for the moment they are waiting for the decision from the higher court.

Speaking to the news agency Halavurt said: “The decision of the İzmir 2nd High Criminal Court was not at all surprising to us. We demonstrated that there is no evidence that supports the charges, whereas the court validated the testimony of anonymous witnesses.”

“Unless the house arrest and the travel ban are lifted, we will appeal to the Constitutional Court, and then if the Constitutional Court rejects it, too, we will go to the ECtHR,” Halavurt added.

“I don’t think the economic crisis in Turkey arose solely from this case. However, the sanctions put in place by the US because of this case are causing a further deterioration of the situation. Naturally, nobody wants that. Reasonable and logical steps should be taken here. Pastor Brunson should be sent home. This is also what the law requires.” Halavurt said.

Turkey has been facing a currency crisis since its relations with the US administration were dramatically strained over the court decision to put Brunson under house arrest after almost two years in pretrial detention rather than release him as demanded by the US administration.

New sanctions on Turkey are ready, says US treasury secretary

Secretary of the US Treasury Steven Mnuchin has said additional US sanctions are ready if Turkey refuses to release an American pastor who the Trump administration says is illegally detained, Bloomberg reported.

President Donald Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Thursday that Turkey has not turned out to be a great friend to the US, and he complained that his administration had secured the release of a Turkish citizen from an unnamed country on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s behalf.

“We got somebody out for him,” Trump said, from “some place,” but Turkey continues to hold pastor Andrew Brunson. It’s “not right” and a “terrible thing,” he said.

Mnuchin then said his department had prepared additional sanctions. The lira pared its gains for the day on the news.

Brunson was put under a house arrest by a Turkish court after almost two years of incarceration on charges of terrorism. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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