NEWS

Vatopedi monk detained in jail

Ephraim, the monk at the center of the contentious Vatopedi Monastery property exchange, is ?prone to criminal activity? and may reoffend if he is not kept in custody, according to a report by a council of appeals court judges that led to the 56-year-old Cypriot-born monk being remanded in custody in Athens?s Korydallos Prison on Wednesday.

The judges? ruling, which prompted magistrate Eirini Kalou to ask for Ephraim?s arrest, identified the abbot as the instigator of the land swap, which allegedly led to Vatopedi obtaining prime real estate in return for property of a lesser value. The justices said that from 2001 to 2008, he talked politicians and public officials into carrying out the swap.

Ephraim?s detention continued to draw criticism from Russia, whose Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich suggested it ran counter to the monk?s human rights. Lukashevich?s Greek counterpart Grigoris Delavekouras insisted Greece?s justice system is independent and Athens would not take instructions from another country.