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U.S. Pastor Appeals Deportation From Russia On Gay Marriage Charge

An American pastor has appealed a court ruling in Russia's Volga region fining him and ordering his deportation allegedly for planning to conduct a same-sex marriage.

The appeal by pastor James Mulcahy was filed in the Sovetsky District Court in the city of Samara on July 12, and the court agreed to hear the case, his attorney Karina Arutyunyan said.

Arutyunyan said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Mulcahy, despite a witness saying he was allegedly going to conduct a wedding ceremony for a Russian same-sex couple.

"No ceremony was conducted. When the police appeared, the pastor was sitting at the table with his friends having tea," she said.

Mulcahy, 72, was detained by police in Samara on July 9 on suspicion of carrying out religious activity after coming to Russia on a tourist visa, an offense which can draw fines of up to 5,000 rubles as well as expulsion from Russia.

A Samara court imposed a fine of 2,000 rubles ($31) and ordered his deportation. He was given five days to leave Russia of his own accord.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax