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American pastor leaves Turkey after court ruling

US pastor Andrew Craig Brunson (C,L) arrives at Adnan Menderes airport in Izmir, on October 12, 2018 after being freed following a trial in a court in Aliaga in western Izmir province. - US pastor Andrew Brunson, freed after a two-year detention in Turkey that shook relations between the countries, said on October 12 he was heading home soon. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP

ALIAGA, Turkey — Turkish media say American pastor Andrew Brunson has left Turkey, following a court ruling that convicted him on terror charges but also set him free.

The evangelical pastor from North Carolina and his wife Norine arrived at a private terminal in Adnan Menderes Airport in the coastal Izmir province late Friday.

Turkish media later said Brunson’s plane took off. His route back to the United States has not been confirmed.

The Turkish court lifted Brunson’s house arrest and ban on travel Friday after sentencing him to three years, one month and 15 days in prison. But since he had already spent nearly two years in detention, Turkish law allowed him to go free with time served.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted earlier that he and his wife “look forward to welcoming Pastor Brunson and his courageous wife Norine back to the USA!”

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