Turkish court orders US pastor Brunson to stay in prison

A Turkish soldier stands guard at the entrance of the Aliaga court and prison complex, during the trial of US pastor Andrew Brunson, held on charges of aiding terror groups, in Aliaga, north of Izmir, on July 18, 2018. (AFP/Ozan Kose)
Updated 18 July 2018
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Turkish court orders US pastor Brunson to stay in prison

  • Brunson faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted on charges of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups deemed by Turkey to be terror organizations
  • The case has become a major sticking point in improving relations between Ankara and Washington

ALIAGA: A Turkish court on Wednesday ordered an American pastor held for almost two years on terror charges to remain in prison, defying growing pressure from the US authorities for his release.
The judge said the next hearing in the case of Andrew Brunson, who ran a protestant church in the Aegean city of Izmir and was first detained in October 2016, would be on October 12, an AFP correspondent reported.
This is the third time his release has been refused — the court had in both previous hearings on April 16 and May 7 denied requests by the defense for Brunson to be set free.
After the hearing was concluded, Brunson waved at supporters, saying only “thank you” in English.
The case has become a major sticking point in improving relations between Ankara and Washington and US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for Brunson’s release.
He faces up to 35 years in jail if convicted on charges of carrying out activities on behalf of two groups deemed by Turkey to be terror organizations — one led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says was behind the failed 2016 coup and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).


No indication North Korea nuclear activities stopped: UN watchdog

Updated 32 min 42 sec ago
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No indication North Korea nuclear activities stopped: UN watchdog

  • ‘The continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear program and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern’
  • The watchdog has stepped up monitoring through open source information and satellite imagery

VIENNA: The UN’s nuclear watchdog said it had not seen any indication that nuclear activities in North Korea have stopped despite its pledges to denuclearize.
“The continuation and further development of the DPRK’s nuclear program and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern,” said a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), referring to North Korea’s official name.
The report, published late Monday, by the director general of Yukiya Amano is to be submitted to an IAEA board meeting in September.
In 2009 Pyongyang expelled IAEA inspectors from its Yongbyon nuclear site and has since refused to allow IAEA inspections on its territory.
The watchdog has stepped up monitoring through open source information and satellite imagery, it said.
“As the Agency remains unable to carry out verification activities in the DPRK, its knowledge of the DPRK’s nuclear program is limited and, as further nuclear activities take place in the country, this knowledge is declining,” it said.
Between late-April and early-May, there were indications of the operation of the steam plant that serves the radiochemical laboratory at the Yongbyon site, according to the report.
However, the duration of the steam plant’s operation was not sufficient to have supported the reprocessing of a complete core from the experimental nuclear power plant reactor, it added.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump held a groundbreaking summit in Singapore in June.
At the meeting the pair struck a vague agreement to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, but there has been little movement since.
Before this, Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April for their first summit. They agreed to push for a declaration of an end to the Korean War this year.