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U.S., Russia discuss American pastor jailed in Sakhalin

An American missionary jailed in Sakhalin was the topic of a meeting between U.S. Consul General in Vladivostok Tom Armbruster and Sakhalin Region Vice Governor Natalya Novikova.

The regional authorities are closely following the situation surrounding the case of the 66-year-old American missionary, Pastor Park Hyo Sun of the Grace of God religious organization in Kholmsk, arrested on suspicion of offering a bribe, Novikova told Interfax.

"The pastor has not complained about his health or conditions at the prison," she said.

Armbruster said that the court would decide whether the pastor is or is not guilty. A U.S. citizen is in prison, and his interpreter, a citizen of Russia, also a defendant in the same case, is at large, he said. It is a matter of justice, given the American pastor's age and his health, the U.S. diplomat said.

Armbruster and Novikova also discussed economic cooperation issues.

Armbruster and U.S. Assistant Commerce Secretary Paul Dyck are in Sakhalin to attend the 12th meeting of the Russian-American Pacific Partnership (RAPP) to be held in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on August 29-30. On August 28 they will attend an international conference marking 200 years of Russian-American diplomatic relations.

On July 9, the Kholmsk Regional Prosecutor's Office in Sakhalin region brought charges of offering a bribe to a local migration official were brought against the American pastor and his interpreter after the pastor and the interpreter were detained as they were handing over 300,000 rubles, believed to be a bribe, to the head of the migration control service directly in his office.

Formal charges of offering a bribe to an official were brought against the two on July 13.

© Interfax

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