Turkey court rejects appeal to release detained US pastor

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In this July 25, 2018 photo, evangelical pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, center, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)
Turkey on Wednesday rejected the U.S.’ appeal for an American pastor’s release from detention, Turkish media reported.
Pastor Andrew Brunson’s lawyer renewed an appeal on Tuesday for Brunson’s release from house arrest and for his travel ban to be lifted.
Brunson was arrested in October 2016 during a nation-wide purge of suspected dissidents following the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016. Brunson was moved to house arrest in July 2018.
The 50-year-old pastor is now being tried on espionage and terror-related charges. Brunson and the U.S. government vehemently deny those charges.
A court in Izmir rejected the appeal, but a higher court would review the appeal, the report said.
The clergyman is at the center of heightened tensions between NATO allies, Turkey and the U.S.
The U.S. recently slapped financial sanctions on two Turkish ministers and doubled steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey over Brunson’s continued detention.
Turkey imposed retaliatory tariffs of its own on Wednesday against certain US goods.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.