American pastor back in court for spying and terror trial

U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, center, sits inside a car as he arrives for his trial in Izmir, Turkey, early Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. The trial against an

U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, center, sits inside a car as he arrives for his trial in Izmir, Turkey, early Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. The trial against an

ALIAGA, Turkey (AP) — The trial against an American pastor at the heart of a diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the United States is to resume in Turkey.

The fourth hearing against Andrew Brunson begins Friday in a prison complex near the coastal city of Izmir. The evangelical pastor is accused of terror-related charges and espionage, facing up to 35 years if convicted.

There was heavy security as the pastor arrived before daybreak. Brunson maintains his innocence and the U.S. has repeatedly called for his release.

The pastor was imprisoned for nearly two years before being placed under house arrest on July 25 for health reasons.

The court's decision failed to improve tensions between the two NATO allies, and Washington sanctioned two Turkish officials and doubled tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports.