Top Turkish court deems Pastor Brunson's appeal inadmissible

Turkey's Constitutional Court said that Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson's appeal of his prison sentence was inadmissible because too much time had passed since he filed it. The pastor was sentenced to three years and 45 days in prison for "aiding a terrorist organization," Ankara's go-to charges when prosecuting critics.

U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson reacts as he arrives at his home after being released from the prison in Izmir, Turkey July 25, 2018.

Duvar English

Turkey's Constitutional Court deemed an appeal by Pastor Andrew Craig Bronson, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, to reverse his prison sentence inadmissible on Jan. 7 because too much time had passed since he had filed it. 

An İzmir court sentenced Bronson to three years and 45 days in prison for "aiding a terrorist organization," a charge commonly utilized by Ankara when prosecuting and detaining critics of the government. 

Brunson appealed his prison sentence on the grounds that his arrest and home arrest were illegal because his time served during his arrest was long enough to be considered a human rights violation. 

A member of the Resurrection Church, Brunson worked in Turkey for 23, and was detained on charges related to the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which Ankara blames on U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Brunson was accused of having links to Gülen's network, dubbed a terrorist entity by Ankara and titled Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ).

The top court said that Brunson's appeal was filed too long after his sentencing, a little over two months after he was released from police custody on Oct. 2, 2018. 

Brunson left Turkey for the United States on Oct. 13, 2018, immediately after his home arrest was lifted.

The Constitutional Court said that Brunson's home arrest was "within reason" considering he was accused of "terrorism."