A priest in Russia has been detained for criticising Vladmir Putin’s invasion in Ukraine.
According BBC News, officers raided the home of Fr Ioann Kurmoyarov, taking belongings including his phone, laptop and a wooden cross. He was then taken to a police station in St Petersburg where we was told he has been arrested.
It’s believed Fr Ioann is the first priest to be jailed under new laws aimed at criminalising those who go against the Russian government’s stance on the war.
He said in a statement given to his lawyer: “I am a prisoner of conscience, suffering for my beliefs. I consider the charges against me and my detention to be illegal.”
Fr Ioann said that his views are fully based on the Bible and canons of the Russian Orthodox Church.
According to BBC News, Fr Ioann posted a Youtube video on 12th March, in which he said, referring to the Russian government: "You are the aggressors who attacked and killed civilians. You will not be in any kind of heaven, you will be in hell.”
He then compared Russia’s invasion in Ukraine to Islamic extremist terrorists.
It’s been reported the priest’s brother said he is serving a two-month sentence and will likely go to trial afterward. However, there are concerns he could get the maximum sentence of ten years in prison.
BBC News said Fr Ioann’s lawyer said his client refuses to admit to committing crime, even though it could get him a shorter sentence.