Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
American missionaries don't like it when Russia cracks down on them and tells them to go home.  They say it's religious persecution.  I don't think it has anything to do with religious persecution.  I think they simply want to keep the southern NRA-types and morons out.  They've seen what these people have done to America...

U.S. Pastor Held for Bullets in Suitcase

A U.S. pastor is being held in a detention cell in Sheremetyevo Airport after trying to bring a box of ammunition into the country.
A court will consider Friday whether to charge Phillip Miles, a pastor of the Christ Community Church in Conway, South Carolina, with smuggling, the U.S. Embassy said.

If charged and convicted, Miles faces a possible fine or prison sentence.

Miles, 57, arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport on Jan. 29 with a single box of rifle rounds in his suitcase, said Dominic Starr, a friend and fellow church member.

Miles was headed for Perm, and the bullets were a gift for a pastor there who was a hunting enthusiast, Starr said by telephone from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Airport officials accused Miles of failing to declare the ammunition as required by law and confiscated the box, Starr said. He was allowed to continue on to Perm on condition he answer further questions when he returned for a flight to the United States.

Miles arrived back at Sheremetyevo on Sunday and was detained. He is being kept in a holding cell at the airport, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said.

"We can confirm that Miles is under investigation by Russian authorities on suspicion of smuggling," the spokesman said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.

Embassy officials have visited him twice since Sunday.

The spokesman refused to provide further information, citing the privacy rights of U.S. citizens.

Miles could not be reached for comment Wednesday, and it was unclear which law enforcement agency had detained him. Natalya Semeikina, a Federal Customs Service spokeswoman, said Miles had not been detained by customs officers. Repeated calls to the Federal Security Service and police at Sheremetyevo Airport went unanswered Wednesday.

Starr said the bullets were among many gifts that Miles was carrying to pastors of churches in and around Perm. "We are hoping that the relationship that Miles and our church have built with Russia will see him through this," Starr said.

The trip was Miles' ninth consecutive annual visit to Russia and the first time he has experienced trouble with authorities, Starr said.

Christ Community Church, a nondenominational church founded in 1981 and associated with Evangel Fellowship International, lists Russia as one of its short-term missions on its web site.

Normally I would simply be baffled by the mind of a Christian bearing ammunition as gifts.  But more baffling is the mind of a person who after his first trip to Russia did not realize it would be a bad idea to enter the country with a box of undeclared ammunition.  Even more baffling is the  mind of a person who still did not realize it after the 8th trip.  

Normally, anyone held at Sheremetyevo would have my sympathy.  Not a fun experience!!!  But, actually, this person does not have my sympathy.  I hope they keep him there forever.  We don't want him back, please.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Thu Feb 7th, 2008 at 04:00:32 PM EST

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