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Turkish court frees American pastor from house arrest, allows him to leave Turkey

Andrew Craig Brunson, an evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, arrives at his house in Izmir, Turkey, Wednesday, July 25, 2018 An American pastor who had been jailed in Turkey for more than one and a half years on terror and espionage charges was released Wednesday and will be put under house arrest as his trial continues. Andrew Craig Brunson, 50, an evangelical pastor originally from Black Mountain, North Carolina, was let out of jail to serve home detention because of "health problems," Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said. (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)

A Turkish court has convicted an American pastor at the center of a Turkish-American diplomatic dispute of terror charges, but has released him from house arrest and allowed him to leave Turkey.

The court near the western city of Izmir on Friday sentenced Andrew Brunson to 3 years and 1 month in prison for the conviction, but since the evangelical pastor has already spent two years in detention he won't serve more time.

Brunson, 50, had rejected the espionage and terror-related charges and strongly maintained his innocence.

Lawyer Ismail Cem Halavurt said Brunson was expected to leave Turkey for the United States

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