Andrew Brunson, the American pastor who was imprisoned in Turkey is home safe in the United States. President Trump has pushed to bring the pastor home since taking office and was able to meet with him face to face. Pastor Brunson was arrested due to his alleged ties to an outlawed group, was ordered freed on Friday and sentenced to time served.
The Turkish judge’s ruling ended a tense diplomatic standoff between the U.S. and Turkey that began after Brunson’s October 2016 detention on terror and treason charges. Turkey targeted the 50-year-old pastor as part of a massive government crackdown following a failed coup months earlier. Brunson was officially sentenced to three years and one month in prison for the conviction; but, because he had already served two years in detention, he wasn’t required to spend any more time behind bars.
Brunson thanked Trump in the Oval Office, saying “you really fought for us, unusually so, from the time you took office.” He also thanked members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who had worked for his release.
“We’re so grateful to so many people in Congress who stood with us, who prayed for us, who fought for us,” he said.
In a dramatic moment, Brunson knelt down and prayed with the President — asking God for “supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him.”
In his remarks, Trump said it was a “great honor” to have Brunson in the White House and thanked a number of lawmakers and members of the Cabinet for their assistance in securing Bunson’s release, according to Fox News.
“If ever there was a bipartisan effort, this was it,” he said. A number of senators, as well as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, were in attendance in the Oval Office. Trump also appeared to take something of a swipe at the previous administration when he said: “We do not pay ransom in this country, at least any longer.”
Brunson said he and his wife looked forward to spending time with children and praying to see what God wants next from him.