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US pastor goes on trial in Turkey over terror ties

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An American pastor is going on trial in Turkey accused of ties to terror groups and spying, in a case that has strained ties between Turkey and the United States.

Andrew Craig Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from North Carolina, faces up to 35 years in prison on charges of ‘committing crimes on behalf of terror groups without being a member’ and ‘espionage.’

The trial begins Monday in Aliaga, a town in western Turkey, reports the Associated Press.

Brunson was arrested in December 2016 for alleged links to both outlawed Kurdish rebels and a network led by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Turkey for a failed military coup that year.

Brunson, who has lived in Turkey for 23 years, rejects the accusations. Washington has demanded his release.

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