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Life sentence hangs over US pastor as Washington sizes up Ankara

Though Congress was reportedly deterred by the State Department from imposing sanctions on Turkey, the indictment of pastor Andrew Brunson may alter the mood as Mike Pompeo replaces Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.

A Turkish prosecutor has demanded life imprisonment for Andrew Brunson, the North Carolina pastor who was detained in October 2016 for his alleged involvement in a failed attempt to overthrow the Turkish government that year.

The prosecutor in the province of Izmir, where Brunson is being held, charged the 50-year-old with being “a member and executive of the terrorist group” accused of being behind the coup attempt. The Turkish government holds Fethullah Gulen, a Sunni cleric who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, responsible for the coup and is demanding his extradition.

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