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Saint Lucia Breaks Records in Tourism Arrivals, highlights Tourism Minister

The island of Saint Lucia continues to break records in tourism arrivals and rivalling all the best records till date. Saint Lucia has witnessed a significant rise of 42% in arrival of visitors in the month of June, 2024.

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Three Sons of Russian Priest Sentenced to Up to 17.5 Years for Attempted Treason

WorldRussiaThree Sons of Russian Priest Sentenced to Up to 17.5 Years for Attempted Treason

In a rare public trial, three sons of a Russian priest have been sentenced to up to 17.5 years in prison for attempting to join the Ukrainian army.

The independent news website Mediazona reported Wednesday that Ioann Ashcheulov, 24, Alexei Ashcheulov, 20, and Timofey Ashcheulov, 19, were detained in July 2023 while attempting to cross the Russian-Ukrainian border.

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The brothers, sons of Igor Ashcheulov, a reclusive 49-year-old priest from the Lipetsk region, have denied their guilt throughout the proceedings.

Despite their claims of innocence, Moscow’s Second Western Military Garrison Court found all three guilty of attempted treason, unlawful attempts to cross the border, and participating in a terrorist organization.

They received sentences ranging from 17 to 17.5 years in maximum-security prison. Prosecutors had initially requested 18 years for each of the defendants.

The trial, unusually open to the public, revealed significant details of the case against the brothers. Mediazona reported that investigators had discovered videos filmed by a fourth Ashcheulov brother in which Alexei and Timofey allegedly discussed defecting to the Ukrainian side.

In these videos, Alexei expressed shame about being Russian. Further evidence presented included emails and Telegram correspondence with a member of the Freedom of Russia Legion, a paramilitary unit of the Ukrainian army comprised of Russian nationals fighting against Moscow’s troops.

Russia has classified this legion as a terrorist organization. In their closing statements, the Ashcheulov brothers articulated their opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a stance that likely contributed to their harsh sentences.

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“I was born in a country that commits crimes in Ukraine. I’m responsible for the actions of my government, and many peaceful citizens of Ukraine who died from Russian bombings were absolutely innocent,” Ioann Ashcheulov told the judge.

“I can say that I don’t consider myself a traitor to Russia,” he added, reflecting the complex and often dangerous position of Russian citizens who oppose the government’s actions in Ukraine.

The case has drawn attention not only for its unusual public nature but also for the involvement of the Russian Orthodox Church, which has been a staunch supporter of the invasion of Ukraine.

Church head Patriarch Kirill has referred to the conflict as a “holy war,” framing it in religious and moral terms that align with the Kremlin’s narrative.

The sentencing of the Ashcheulov brothers highlights the severe penalties faced by those in Russia who express dissent against the government’s military actions.

Their father, Igor Ashcheulov, has not commented publicly on the trial or his sons’ sentences. The case underscores the deep divisions within Russian society over the war in Ukraine and the lengths to which the government will go to suppress opposition.

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The public trial and harsh sentences serve as a stark warning to others who might consider opposing the Kremlin’s policies.

As the conflict in Ukraine continues, the fate of the Ashcheulov brothers will likely remain a poignant example of the personal costs of dissent in Russia.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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