2021-11-30 17:16:00

Former schema-hegumen Sergy sentenced to 3.5 years in prison (updated)

Moscow, November 30, Interfax - The Izmailovsky District Court of Moscow has sentenced former schema-hegumen Sergy (Nikolay) Romanov to three years and six months in a penitentiary in a case on incitement to suicide and arbitrary behavior, an Interfax correspondent reported.

"[The court has ruled] to sentence Romanov to imprisonment for three years and six months in a general security penitentiary," Judge Andrey Sedyshev said, reading out the ruling.

Romanov was found guilty of incitement to suicide, infringement on freedom of conscience and religion, and arbitrary behavior.

When sentencing Romanov, the court did not find any aggravating circumstances, but took into account a number of mitigating ones, in particular, Romanov's age, health, positive character references, and charity work.

The court upheld a restrictive measure in the form of arrest imposed on Romanov until the sentence enters into effect.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged," Romanov said after his sentence was read out.

According to the case summary, Romanov publicly encouraged ten nuns living at the Sredneuralsky Convent to commit suicide and later, realizing that his calls could be received by an indefinite number of people and entail socially dangerous consequences, published a video of his speech containing signs of inciting Christian believers to commit suicide on the Internet.

Additionally, the Russian Investigative Committee found that Romanov disagreed with the decision to suspend him from service, did not leave the convent, and arbitrarily prevented people, including representatives of the Yekaterinburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church, from entering the territory, illegally obstructing religious rituals, among other things.

Romanov also committed arbitrariness by preventing an inventory of real estate on the territory of the convent in breach of civilian legislation.

Romanov pleaded not guilty.

Romanov was detained in 2020. He was defrocked the same year and later excommunicated. In June 2020, he and his supporters effectively seized the Sredneuralsky Convent, which he founded.

In September 2021, Romanov was charged with inciting hatred and enmity over several videos published on the Internet.

Romanov was earlier jailed for 13 years for murder and robbery with the use of force. He was released in the late 1990s after serving his sentence.

Romanov's views and statements gained notoriety in 2020 due to his public denial of the threat of coronavirus.