American denies wrong-doing; few details available


RIA Novosti, 12 July 2016


The defense attorney of Pastor James Francis Malachi, who was arrested in Samara, appealed the verdict of his deportation from Russia, the attorney, Karina Arutyunian, told RIA Novosti.


Pastor James Francis Malachi, an American citizen, was arrested by police on Saturday, 9 July. A report was composed regarding him based on part 2 of article 18.8 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the RF, "Violation of the rules of residency in the RF." According to the account of law enforcement agents, the pastor from the USA was able to engage in illegal preaching activity in Russia. A number of Russian news media also reported information to the effect that the pastor allegedly came to the RF to conduct ceremonies of marriage of same-sex couples.


The Soviet district court of Samara ordered that Malachi be fined 2,000 rubles and be deported outside the borders of the RF.


"We filed an appeal against the decision of the Soviet district court for the deportation of my client and for the fine of 2,000 rubles. We categorically disagree with this decision," Arutyunian said.


The attorney told an RIA Novosti correspondent that it is planned that the pastor will fly out Wednesday to the USA and will not be able to attend the trial. She said that Malachi left a video deposition for the court of the higher instance where he explains that he did not commit any illegal actions in Russia. Arutyunian also said that on the day of his arrest, the clergyman was strolling along the Samara embankment and met with friends. The attorney maintains that Malachi did not conduct any weddings and preaching in the city.


"Today we conversed with the pastor and he told me that he loves Russia and is very grieved about what happened. He said that he is leaving with love in his heart, despite the situation that arose. He intends to appeal the court's decision, because he thinks it is unjustified. He said that he would wish to visit Russia again," Arutyunian added. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 July 2016)




The Samara provincial court will review the appeal of the decision of the Soviet district court of Samara about the deportation of American Pastor James Malachi. This was described Tuesday by the attorney of the American citizen, Karina Arutyunian.


"Today I filed an appeal in Samara provincial court," she told the Interfax-Religiia portal.


Karina Arutyunian figures that the appellate instance will render a decision in one to two months.


She said James Malachi will not wait for the results of the appeal in Samara and he intends to leave the borders of the country in the near future.


"The pastor cannot wait in Russia. He has business and he cannot spent time running around our Russian courts—both his age and health do not permit that. He gave me power of attorney and on that basis I will represent his interests all the way to the European court.," Karina Arutyunian declared.


As already reported, on 9 July in Samara police arrested the pastor on suspicion of illegal missionary activity. Later on the same day the court ordered the clergyman to leave the borders of Russia within five days for violation of visa rules.


According to information from the news agency's source in law enforcement agencies of the region, the religious figure came to Samara to marry a same-sex couple.


In her turn, Karina Arutyunian maintains that this is "absolutely false." "There were no lectures, there were no weddings—nothing of the sort was proposed," she declared. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 July 2016)



Interfax-Ukraina, 9 July 2016


American Pastor James Francis Malachi was arrested and taken into court in Samara. Law enforcement agencies intend to insist on his deportation, the lawyer for the American citizen, Karina Arutyunian, told the Interfax-Povolzhe news agency.


She explained that the pastor came to Samara for a vacation on a tourist visa and stayed the whole time in one of the local hotels.


She said, James Malachi was arrested by police at 16.15 local time on Saturday during a meeting with friends.


"He was charged on part 2 of article 18.8 of the Code of Administrative Violations of Law of the RF, that is, he engaged in missionary activity in violation of tourist visa rules and thereby he violated federal law No. 115 'On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian federation,'" the attorney said.


Actually, affirms the lawyer, her client did not conduct any preaching in Samara. "During a meeting with friends and acquaintances, who found out that he was in Samara—this was not the first year nor the first time he came here to Samara—they came over, drank tea, and conversed on all sorts of topics. The pastor described for them the history of religions and culture. That is, it was an ordinary conversation, nothing more," she said.


She said that after his arrest the pastor was moved to police department No. 3 in Samara, and then to the Soviet district court of Samara, to which the attorney was denied access.


"Since today is a weekend, the court did not admit anybody except judicial staff and participants in judicial proceedings. Consequently today the court session was conducted in the presence of the state's attorney," K. Arutyunian explained.


She emphasized that the report on James Malachi was composed by the official of the police in her absence. Later she learned from the pastor that he was not explained his right to an attorney and right to not give evidence against himself.


"These violations of the law will by appealed by us in the Samara provincial court," the attorney declared.


She also explained that she asked the pastor to petition before the court to postpone the session to a week day. She said that after his arrest, "James Francis feels very bad; he is 73 years old, he has diabetes, he has high blood pressure, and he does not have his medicine with him."


The press service of the directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for Samara province refused to comment on the news about the arrest of the American pastor. (tr. by PDS, posted 12 July 2016)

Background article:
American clergyman arrested in Russia for visa violation
July 10, 2016

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