The Gulkevichi Regional Court in the Russian Krasnodar Krai region took legal actions against two US citizens for violating Russian laws on freedom of conscience and religious associations, reported CurrentTime TV. They were fined thirty thousand rubles or over $460.
According to court documents, David Udo Hague and Cole Davis Brodovsky, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were arrested in Novorossiysk on March 1, 2019. US media earlier named one of the detainees as Cole Brody.
The Mormons were initially detained in Novorossiysk for violating Russian immigration laws. According to the court, they allegedly taught English while not having pedagogical education but when they were obtaining visas they said that they intended to do missionary work in Russia.
But this time, they have also been convicted for “illegal missionary work”. According to the court’s decision, they preached and distributed leaflets on the streets when Russian law dictated that they could do so only in specially designated areas. The court found that they violated Part 5 of Article 5.26 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses.
One of the Mormons pleaded not guilty. He claimed that he did not preach on the streets of Novorossiysk, but only talked with pedestrians. Now, the US citizens are being held in a temporary detention center for foreign citizens in Gulkevichi.