2019-03-07 14:44:00

One of 2 U.S. Mormons detained in southern Russia to be deported

Krasnodar, March 7, Interfax - The Krasnodar Territorial Court on Thursday upheld the ruling of a court in Novorossiysk, which found U.S. citizen Kole Brodowski guilty of violating border regulations.

The Primorye District Court in Novorossiysk found Brodowski guilty of violating border regulations and sentenced him to an administrative fine of 2,000 rubles and deportation from Russia, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom.

Brodowski's lawyer Sergey Gliznutsa appealed the ruling.

"The police drew conclusions about the alleged educational activity of the U.S. citizen from a five-minute conversation conducted in English. The fact of payment for [educational] services was not established, no assignments or textbooks were given at the meeting, and the participants did not take any notes or have any copybooks," the lawyer told the court.

In Kole Brodowski's own words, he had come to Russia as a missionary, taking part in official events of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

"The charter of this religious organization, which is registered by the Russian Justice Ministry, envisages various cultural and educational events, such as meetings and debates with foreign citizens in a foreign language," Gliznutsa said.

On March 2, the Primorsky District Court in Novorossiysk found the two U.S. citizens guilty of violating border regulations. They are being held in a special facility for persons under administrative arrest, which is situated in the town of Gulkevichi.

According to the investigators, the foreigners had engaged in teaching activity in Novorossiysk, which did not coincide with the purpose of arriving in Russia they had declared.

They told the court they had come to Russia as volunteers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and had no professional training to serve as teachers. However, their testimony was refuted by several witnesses.