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Belarus Charges Russian Priest With Pimping

Belarusian authorities have charged a Russian Orthodox priest with attempted pimping and human trafficking, accusing him of seeking to take two women to Russia to work as prostitutes.

The Belarusian Investigative Committee said on August 11 that the priest had been sent to pretrial detention.

Investigators said the suspect was detained on August 3 in the eastern city of Vitsebsk while attempting to leave the city for Russia with two local women whom he had persuaded to work as prostitutes in St. Petersburg.

The priest was charged with "an attempt to benefit from prostitution...involving the transportation of individuals out of the country for prostitution," the committee said.

If convicted, the priest could be may face up to 10 years in jail.

The Russian Orthodox Church on August 3 identified the detained priest as Nikolai Kireyev and said he would be barred from serving in the church pending resolution of the case.

Based on reporting by BelaPAN, TASS, and Interfax