Israel 'extradites' priest accused of child abuse to Russia

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Domes on a Russian Orthodox church near Moscow (file image)

Israel has reportedly begun the extradition of a Russian priest accused of sexually abusing young girls, nearly three years after Russia asked for it.

Gleb Grozovsky was handed over to the Russian prison service and Interpol officers for the flight to Moscow, Russian prosecutors say.

He denies corrupting two girls aged nine and 12 at a Russian Orthodox summer camp in Greece in June 2013.

Prosecutors accuse him of similar attacks in Russia itself in 2011.

Russia first asked for the priest's extradition in November 2013, when he was in Israel on Church business.

He had applied for Israeli citizenship but was turned down and was asked to leave the country. This April, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked signed the order for his extradition.

The extradition process was delayed when his lawyers appealed to the Israeli supreme court, on grounds that his life would be in danger back in Russia, but the appeal was rejected last month, Russian media report.

Island camps

After arriving in Moscow, the priest will be transferred to the north Russian city of St Petersburg, near where he formerly served as a priest.

Mr Grozovsky was suspended from his priestly duties by the Russian Orthodox Church after the charges against him were announced.

Russian media report he was accused of abusing the two girls while on a summer camp on the Greek island of Kos in 2013. A gynaecologist reportedly later found injuries on the body of one of the girls.

He is also accused of molesting girls at a summer camp on the island of Konevets, in Lake Ladoga near St Petersburg, in June 2011.

Insisting on his innocence, Mr Grozovsky has said the case against him is fabricated.