President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and others took to social media to celebrate the release of Andrew Brunson on October 12. Brunson was convicted by a Turkish court on terrorism charges and sentenced to 37 months in prison. The judge reduced his sentence to two years for good behavior, and ordered Brunson released on time served.
He was originally detained on October 7, 2016, and held until July 25, 2018, when he was released from prison to house arrest.
Brunson is scheduled to be flown to a U.S. air base in Germany by military transport on October 12 before returning to the United States.
In a statement to the court before the verdict was issued, Brunson tearfully refuted all the allegations.
“I’m an innocent man,” he said. “I love Jesus. I love this country.”
Brunson’s defense attorney, Ismail Cem Halavurt, said the verdict was “the best of a bad situation. He is going to go (to the United States) but I hope he is able to come back. He is someone who absolutely loves Turkey.”
PASTOR BRUNSON JUST RELEASED. WILL BE HOME SOON!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2018
We thank God for answered prayers and commend the efforts of @SecPompeo & @StateDept in supporting Pastor Brunson and his family during this difficult time. @SecondLady and I look forward to welcoming Pastor Brunson and his courageous wife Norine back to the USA! 🇺🇸
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) October 12, 2018
"We are pleased that Pastor Andrew Brunson will finally be released from Turkish custody and will return to the United States as a free man."
— Senator Thom Tillis (@SenThomTillis) October 12, 2018
Very pleased Pastor Brunson will finally be released from Turkish custody. This is a huge relief for him & his family who has relentlessly advocated for his freedom. The effort to secure his release was bipartisan w/ close cooperation between Congress & the administration. pic.twitter.com/UevXqvIBFU
— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (@SenatorShaheen) October 12, 2018
RT @USUN Many prayers answered for the family of Pastor Brunson and for all Americans today. Welcome home, Pastor…you’ve been missed! After an unjust imprisonment in Turkey for 2 years, we can all breathe a sigh of relief. ❤️🇺🇸 #PrayersAnswered #USStrong https://t.co/s6wzpgsezF
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) October 12, 2018
This has been a long and painful ordeal for Pastor Andrew Brunson and his family, and we are relieved that they will finally be reunited after this long period of his unjust imprisonment. My full statement on his release from Turkey today: pic.twitter.com/4ecCqZ7BEy
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 12, 2018