An American preacher with ties to the Mid-South was released from a Turkish prison Friday and is headed back to the United States.
Andrew Brunson and his wife are currently in Germany being checked out by U.S. Air Force doctors.
Brunson, who has family in Collierville, spent the last two years and five days in prison in Turkey after the Turkish government charged Brunson with terrorism.
Brunson’s trial concluded Friday morning when the Turkish court found him guilty, but decided to release him back to the U.S.
The message his family wore on wrist bands did not go unnoticed.
Family told FOX13 for the last 23 years the pastor and his wife have lived in Turkey where they started a family.
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"He is not a terrorist he is the most humble Christian guy I have ever met,” said Angela Brunson, his cousin. "He had a possibility of 35 years in prison that's what they were trying to give him."
Brunson and his wife built a church in Turkey, according to his family.
Angela said they have been working with leaders in Washington, D.C. to help with the release of Andrew.
State and national groups both played a part in getting Brunson’s story to President Donald Trump.
"We are so thankful to the government. The Trump Administration whether or not you like him he has worked so tirelessly to get Andrew home,” Angela said.
Andrews’s uncle, Cecil Brunson, told FOX13 on this day 46 years ago he was taken prisoner in Vietnam.
"Today with his release really redeems this day for me now it has become a joyful day for me,” Cecil said.
Angela said there is so much family time Andrew has to catch up on so that precious memories can be complete.
"His daughter just got married. We are still waiting to have the wedding ceremony because she wanted her dad to walk her down the aisle,” Angela said.
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