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ALMATY -- A Kazakh district court has ordered an Orthodox priest deported for administrative violations.

The court also ruled that Father Sophrony does not have a valid residence permit.

Sophrony, who as a layman was known as Petr Evtiheev, is a Russian citizen.

Sophrony told RFE/RL that he plans to appeal. An appeal has to be lodged within 15 days.

Sophrony runs an orphanage and an old people's home near Almaty.

He has been living in Kazakhstan since 1991, where he graduated from a religious seminary.

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service says the institutions run by Sophrony provide a home for some 113 children and 120 elderly and disabled people.

The United States has recently criticized Kazakhstan for alleged violations of religious freedoms.
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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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