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Siberian Orthodox Priest Jailed Again For Publicly Backing Former Governor

Andrei Vinarsky appears in court in May.
Andrei Vinarsky appears in court in May.

KHABAROVSK, Russia -- A court in Siberia has sentenced an Orthodox priest to 10 days in jail -- his sixth jail term -- for publicly expressing support for the former governor of the Khabarovsk region, Sergei Furgal, who was arrested on murder charges that he and his supporters have rejected as politically motivated.

Khabarovsk-based journalist Tatyana Khlestunova told RFE/RL on November 3 that a court in the Far Eastern city found Andrei Vinarsky guilty of repeatedly violating the law on mass gatherings.

In March, the Birobidzhan eparchy dismissed Vinarsky as archpriest of the St. Nicholas Church over his participation in the rallies.

The eparchy also ruled that Vinarsky cannot run church services until he repents and stops taking part in unsanctioned rallies.

Large anti-government protests in the region erupted last year after Furgal's arrest in July 2020, highlighting discontent in the Far East over what demonstrators viewed as Moscow-dominated policies that often neglect their views and interests.

Furgal is currently in pretrial detention in Moscow facing charges of attempted murder and ordering two killings in 2004 and 2005. He denies the charges.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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