Russia jails US pastor for smuggling hunting rifle ammunition

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Moscow, Apr 21 (UNI) A Moscow court today sentenced a US pastor, Phililip Miles to three years and two months in prison for smuggling hunting rifle ammunition into the country for his Russian hunting partner.

Miles, 57, the pastor of Christ Community Church in Conway (South Carolina) was caught with the hunting rifle rounds when he flew into Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport on January 29.

He was later charged with illegal possession and smuggling of ammunition.

Investigators said Miles visited Russia on more than 10 occasions, and almost always stayed with his Russian friend in the Urals city of Perm.

The judge said Miles was bringing the rifle rounds to his friend "as they were both keen hunters, and have permission to hunt." Miles, his lawyer and defence witnesses have said the cleric's actions were unintentional.

His lawyers plan to contest the decision at a higher court, the Moscow City Court, within the next 10 days, Russian news agencies said.

UNI XC RJ KN1821

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