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Detained US pastor rejects terror charges in Turkey trial

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AFP :
An American Christian pastor who has spent the last one and a half years in jail in Turkey strongly rejected terror-related charges on Monday as his trial got underway, in a case that has raised tensions with Washington.
Andrew Brunson, who ran a protestant church in the western city of Izmir, was detained by Turkish authorities in October 2016. If convicted, he risks up to 35 years in jail.
Brunson, wearing a white shirt and a black suit and speaking in fluent Turkish, was present in court in the town of Aliaga north of Izmir for the hearing, an AFP correspondent said.
In an indication of the importance of the case for Washington, also in court were Sam Brownback, the US ambassador at large for religious freedoms, and Senator Thom Tillis.
"I want the whole truth to be revealed. I reject all the accusations in the indictment. I haven't been involved in any illegal activity," Brunson told the court.
"I haven't done anything against Turkey. On the contrary, I love Turkey. I have been praying for Turkey for 25 years," added Brunson, who moved to the country in 1993 and then opened his Izmir church in 2010.

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