A year after Andrew Brunson was released from a two-year stint in a Turkish prison -- he'd been accused of spying and aiding terrorists -- the American pastor visited the Senate floor and shared his appreciation for being freed with some of those who helped him.
"I'm standing here today because so many of you fought for me and I'm deeply grateful. In a time of many divides, you were unified in fighting for my release," Brunson said Tuesday -- the first day the Senate is back in session after a two-week recess.
Brunson, who's from North Carolina, was invited by Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., to give the opening prayer on Tuesday.
Brunson was a Christian evangelist in Turkey for more than 20 years before he was arrested in October 2016 and accused by the Turkish government of espionage and ties to terrorists. He, his lawyers and the U.S. denied those charges.
"He found himself in a Turkish prison ... in what we would consider to be despicable circumstances in a prison cell," Tillis said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Tillis noted that the 62-page indictment against Brunson read like a "horrible, fictional novel."
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