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Turkish soldiers stand as a car with US Pastor Andrew Brunson sitting inside leaves the courthouse after his release following his trial in Izmir, Turkey, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, A Turkish court on Friday convicted an American pastor of terror charges but released him from house arrest and allowed him to leave Turkey, in a move that is likely to ease tensions between Turkey and the United States. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Trump celebrates release of US pastor in Turkey


ALIAGA, Turkey (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump is celebrating the release of an American pastor who was on trial in Turkey, saying he'll be back in the United States soon.

A Turkish court on Friday convicted Andrew Brunson on terror-related charges, but released him from house arrest and allowed him to leave Turkey. The decision is expected to ease strained U.S.-Turkey relations.

The court sentenced Brunson to a little more than three years in prison, but since the 50-year-old evangelical pastor, a native of North Carolina, has already spent two years in detention, he won't serve more time.

In an all-caps tweet Friday, Trump said: "PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED. WILL BE HOME SOON!"

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