A Turkish prosecutor has requested that an American pastor at the center of a diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the United States be released from house arrest pending the outcome of his trial.

In the fourth hearing in the case against Andrew Brunson, the prosecutor however also recommended that he be convicted on terror-related charges.

A panel of judges is expected to reach an interim ruling later Friday.

Brunson, 50, is accused of terror-related charges and espionage. He rejects the charges and strongly maintains his innocence.

turkish prison court_1539351712307.jpg.jpg
Turkish soldiers stand guard outside the entrance to Aliaga Prison Court after American pastor Andrew Brunson arrived ahead of his court hearing on October 12, 2018 in Izmir, Turkey.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

The pastor told the court he is "an innocent man. I love Jesus, I love Turkey."

The United States has repeatedly called for his release.