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ST. PETERSBURG, September 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian priest Gleb Grozovsky suspected of paedophilia was detained in Israel on September 21 after Russia had changed the initial charges put forth for his extradition, his sister said on Thursday.
“My brother is no longer charged with the offences brought against him by the Russian investigators - a sexual assault, but with rape. This was a surprise for his lawyer in Israel,” Lyubov Grozovskaya told ITAR-TASS, citing her brother’s Israeli lawyer Haim Azencott.
She thinks that Gleb Grozovsky had been detained because of these new charges.
Upon his detention on September 21, Israeli police asked the district court to issue a warrant for his extradition.
On September 23, his detention was extended for ten days at his lawyer’s request to give him time to study the case files.
Russian media reported earlier on Thursday, citing informed sources, that the Israeli authorities had made an informal but principled decision to extradite Grozovsky and that the extradition procedures would begin shortly.
Grozovsky was arrested in Capernaum. “It was a very awkward situation. He was arrested while receiving guests from different places. Suddenly several policemen appeared and said he was under arrest,” his lawyer said.
The priest was arrested after Russian law enforcement agencies’ request, Israeli police spokesman Mikhail Zingerman said.
Grozovsky, a former spiritual advisor of St. Petersburg’s Zenit football club, is suspected of having committed a sexual assault against underage persons on several occasions.
He has been in Israel since 2013 and was arrested in Russia in absentia. In April 2014, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office sent a letter to the Israeli Ministry of Justice, requesting his extradition.