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TO EXPRESS THE GREAT CONCERN OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR THE WELFARE OF PASTOR PHILIP MILES, OF CHRIST COMMUNITY CHURCH IN RICHLAND COUNTY, WHO IS BEING UNJUSTLY DETAINED IN A RUSSIAN PRISON, AND TO INSIST IN THE STRONGEST TERMS THAT THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT RELEASE PASTOR MILES FROM HIS IMPRISONMENT.
Whereas, Pastor Philip Miles, of Christ Community Church in Richland County, has been unjustly detained in a Russian prison for the past two months; and
Whereas, in late January, Pastor Miles and some fellow church members flew into Moscow on their way to Perm, Siberia, to visit local pastors and their families. Pastor Miles, an avid hunter, decided to take a gift of rifle bullets for one of the pastors who was also a hunter; and
Whereas, on Pastor Miles's way through Moscow at the start of the trip, the bullets were confiscated, and he was allowed to go on his way. However, upon his return through Moscow, he was detained and questioned regarding the bullets; and
Whereas, because he did not properly declare the bullets at customs, Pastor Miles is now being investigated for smuggling and trafficking, an unjust charge since rifle bullets are not illegal in Russia; and
Whereas, although there is a possibility that, at the conclusion of his trial, he could be released because of time already served, he could also be found guilty of trafficking, which carries a three- to seven-year sentence; and
Whereas, even if he is released after his present trial, it could take many weeks to complete the trial process because Russian trial days are not consecutive; and
Whereas, meanwhile, Russian investigators may also decide to hold Pastor Miles for additional sixty-day periods if they see fit; and
Whereas, Pastor Miles's history and reputation make it abundantly clear that he was not attempting to commit any crime at all, and in such a case, justice demands that he be speedily released. Now, therefore,
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:
That the members of the South Carolina General Assembly, by this resolution, express the great concern of the South Carolina General Assembly for the welfare of Pastor Philip Miles, of Christ Community Church in Richland County, who is being unjustly detained in a Russian prison, and insist in the strongest terms that the Russian government release Pastor Miles from his imprisonment.
Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Russian government and Christ Community Church.
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