Thursday, June 20, 2024

    Ex-deacon of Ukrainian Orthodox Church (MP) arrested for human trafficking, aiding draft dodgers

    The SBU detained an ex-deacon of the UOC (MP), who has been sending draft dodgers abroad under the guise of “church missionaries.”

    That’s according to the Security Service of Ukraine.

    The scheme of evading military draft and human trafficking across the border was exposed in Odesa.

    The former deacon of the Odesa diocese of the UOC (MP) has been detained. For a monetary reward, he helped potential conscripts cross out of Ukraine to the countries of the European Union posing as church clerics.

    In order to execute the arrangement, the suspect forged “lists of missionaries” who are supposed to go abroad on behalf of the head of the diocese as part of the religious community.

    Then he submitted false documents to the State Service for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Speech claiming the need for pseudo-clerics to leave Ukraine.

    The cost of the service was set $4,500 and over. The price tag depended on the urgency and the financial capabilities of clients.

    The suspect was detained while handing over documents to the client that would allow them to cross out of Ukraine and receiving an illegal reward, the Office of the Prosecutor General reports

    In this way, the detainee tried to illegally transport six evaders abroad. SBU employees exposed the scheme and arrested him “red handed”.

    The man was informed of suspicion under Art. 332 Part 3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (human trafficking across the state border of Ukraine).

    He is in custody. The detainee faces up to nine years in prison and asset seizure. An investigation is ongoing to establish all the circumstances of the offense.

    Other persons involved in the illegal scheme are being identified.