U.S. lifts sanctions on 2 Turkish officials over Brunson case

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) — The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Friday that it has lifted sanctions against two senior Turkish officials over the detention of an American pastor.

According to the website of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu have been removed from the human rights related Global Magnitsky Act sanctions list.

The Treasury in August slapped sanctions on the two senior ministers, citing their “leading” roles in the detention of Andrew Brunson.

Brunson, a 50-year-old Christian pastor, was detained two years ago in Turkey on spying charges, and once faced up to 35 years in prison if found guilty.

He was indicted on charges of having links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, which Turkey accuses of being behind a 2016 coup attempt to topple Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In October, a court in Izmir Province set the pastor free. He has since returned to the United States.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later suggested that the United States may lift sanctions on Turkey that are directly related to the Brunson case.

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