Russian Priest Goes on Trial In Belarus On Pimping Charge

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VITSEBSK, Belarus -- A Russian Orthodox priest charged with attempted pimping and human-trafficking goes on trial in Belarus on October 25.

The Belarusian Investigative Committee branch in the eastern region of Vitsebsk said earlier this week that the trial will be held behind closed doors.

Nikolai Kireyev, 39, is accused of trying to take two Belarusian women to Russia to work as prostitutes. He was arrested in August.

Investigators say a 19-year-old woman from Tajikistan has already been convicted of involvement in the crime and is currently serving a five-year prison term in Belarus.

Kireyev is charged with "an attempt to benefit from prostitution...involving the transportation of individuals out of the country for prostitution," the Investigative Committee said.

If convicted, the priest could be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

After Kireyev's arrest, the Russian Orthodox Church said he would be barred from serving in the church pending a resolution of the case.

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