US urges Russia to reconsider Pastor's jail sentence

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Moscow, Apr 22 (UNI) The United States Embassy has urged a local court here to reconsider the jail term of more than three years to Pastor Phillip Miles who was convicted of smuggling hunting rifle cartridges into Russia.

The 57-year-old Miles, belonging to the Christ Community Church in Conway (South Carolina), was caught with a box of twenty 300-caliber rifle cartridges at the Sheremetyevo airport on January 29, this year.

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

''The US Embassy continues to raise the issue of the Mr Miles's case with the Russian authorities, in support of an appeal or shortening of the prison sentence,'' an Embassy official told RIA Novosti news agency.

Mr Miles had told Golovinsky Court he was bringing the rounds to his Russian hunting partner in the Urals city of Perm. His sentence of three years and two months was handed down by the court yesterday.

His church has also criticised the ruling, saying, ''Our church family are deeply disappointed with this unjust sentence. An appeal of the decision will be filed. His case is not over and the church family remains hopeful that we will be reunited with Pastor Phillip soon.'' UNI XC SYU HS1735

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