The US Treasury Department is sanctioning Turkey's ministers of justice and interior in response to the detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday.
"We've seen no evidence that Pastor Brunson has done anything wrong," Sanders said, calling Brunson's detention "unfair and unjust."
The two ministers will have any assets and properties under US jurisdiction blocked and US persons will be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with the ministers.
The US Treasury announced that the US is sanctioning the two Turkish officials for their role in Brunson's arrest and detention, Abdulhamit Gul and Minister of Interior Suleyman Soylu.
The statement said, "These officials serve as leaders of Turkish government organizations responsible for implementing Turkey's serious human rights abuses, and are being targeted pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, 'Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,' which builds upon Treasury's Global Magnitsky Act authorities."
"Pastor Brunson's unjust detention and continued prosecution by Turkish officials is simply unacceptable," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "President Trump has made it abundantly clear that the United States expects Turkey to release him immediately."