The Russian Orthodox Church has agreed to do what it can to help protect priest Gleb Grozovsky, above, who has just been extradited from Israel to Russia to face child abuse charges,
According to the Russian news service, Interfax, the crimes the priest stands accused of “normally draws aggression from inmates”.
Roman Silantyev, Director of the Human Rights Center of the World Russian People’s Council said:
I have now contacted church representatives who are responsible for liaison with the Federal Penitentiary Service and asked them to help protect him.
Silantyev added that representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church “reacted positively” to his request.
It was reported that in February that the Supreme Court of Israel issued a final ruling to extradite Grozovsky to Russia.
It’s alleged that, in the summer of 2011, Grozovsky, who then was a cleric at the Ascension (St Sophia) Cathedral in Tsarskoye Selo, sexually abused several individuals under 14 years of age on the grounds of an Orthodox children’s camp on Konevets Island, Priozyorsky District, Leningrad Region.
When he absconded in October 2013 he was arrested in absentia and placed on the international wanted list.
According to the BBC, Grozovsky denies corrupting two girls aged nine and 12 at the Russian Orthodox summer camp in Greece.
He had applied for Israeli citizenship but was turned down and was asked to leave the country. This April, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked signed the order for his extradition.
The extradition process was delayed when his lawyers appealed to the Israeli supreme court, on grounds that his life would be in danger back in Russia, but the appeal was rejected last month.
Grozovsky was suspended from his priestly duties by the Russian Orthodox Church after the charges against him were announced.