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Russian coronavirus-denying monk given jail sentence

MOSCOW (AP) — A insurgent Russian monk who castigated the Kremlin and denied that the coronavirus existed was convicted Tuesday on accusations of encouraging suicides and given a 3½-year jail sentence.

The monk, Father Sergiy, was arrested in December 2020 on fees of inciting suicidal actions by sermons through which he urged believers to “die for Russia,” breaching the liberty of conscience and making arbitrary strikes. He rejected the accusations and his legal professionals stated they might enchantment Tuesday’s ruling by Moscow’s Ismailovo District Court docket.

Father Sergiy reacted to the decision with a biblical “Don’t decide and you’ll not be judged.”

When the coronavirus pandemic started, the 66-year-old monk denied its existence and denounced authorities efforts to stem the pandemic as “Devil’s digital camp.” He has unfold the long-debunked conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and described the coronavirus vaccines being developed towards COVID-19 as a part of a purported world plot to regulate the plenty by way of microchips.

The monk urged followers to disobey the federal government’s lockdown measures and holed up at a monastery close to Yekaterinburg that he based and had dozens of burly volunteers, together with veterans of the separatist battle in japanese Ukraine, assist implement his guidelines whereas the prioress and a number of other nuns left.

The monk chastised President Vladimir Putin as a “traitor to the Motherland” who was serving a Satanic “world authorities” and denounced the top of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, and different high clerics as “heretics” who should be “thrown out.”

The Russian Orthodox Church stripped Father Sergiy of his abbot’s rank for breaking monastic guidelines and later excommunicated him, however he rejected the rulings and ignored police investigators’ summons. Going through stiff resistance by a whole bunch of his supporters, church officers and native authorities appeared reluctant to evict him for months.

Father Sergiy, who was born as Nikolai Romanov, served as a police officer throughout Soviet occasions. After leaving the ranks of regulation enforcement, he was convicted of homicide, theft and assault and sentenced to 13 years in jail. He joined a church college after his launch and later turned a monk.

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