US Pastor Freed from Turkey Prays with Trump in Oval Office

US Pastor Freed from Turkey Prays with Trump in Oval Office

President Donald Trump's administration imposed sanctions targeting Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in response to Turkey's arrest and prosecution of United States pastor Andrew Brunson on terror charges.

Trump said he and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke about Brunson's situation "at least once a day".

Brunson was accused of terror-related charges and espionage, and faced up to 35 years in jail.

The lawyer for US evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson said on Wednesday he had appealed to a Turkish court against the jail sentence his client received last week for terrorism offences.

"We agree that in our relations, there should be no sanctions like this and other issues", he said.

Brunson, who was at the center of a Turkish-U.S. diplomatic dispute that even had sparked outcry from American evangelical groups, was released to house arrest after nearly two years in jail.

Trump thanked the Brunsons for the prayers.

The North Carolina native left Turkey on Friday for a stop at a USA military hospital in Germany before Saturday's meeting with Trump at the White House.

"We've been negotiating long and hard", Trump told reporters.

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Hannity asked Brunson about his detention, where he said he was "held in a cell designed for eight, and there were 21 people". As Trump bowed his head, Brunson asked God to "give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him".

In his brief prayer for Trump, Brunson also asked God to protect Trump from enemies and make the president a blessing to the nation. "I ask that you give him wisdom in how to lead this country into righteousness".

"I ask that you give him perseverance and endurance and courage to stand for truth". "And we bless him".

A Turkish court on Friday convicted Brunson on terrorism charges but sentenced him to time served and freed him from house arrest to return to the U.S.

While Pompeo welcomed Brunson's release in meetings with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, according to the U.S. State Department, he also raised concerns about others being held in Turkey, including a Turkish-U.S. scientist who had worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

"We were very shocked because we had spent 23 years working very openly, telling people about Jesus, helping refugees, things like that".

In an October 12 statement, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, said he was "overjoyed" the pastor had been released and was "coming home safely" to the U.S. He issued the remarks as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Global Human Rights and co-chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.

"I love Jesus. I love Turkey", an emotional Brunson, who had maintained his innocence, told the court at Friday's hearing.

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