Russia’s Investigative Committee says a 20-year-old Tajik migrant, who extinguished candles in an Orthodox church in Moscow will not be punished, but he will be sent for compulsory treatment as he was found mentally insane.  

“The examination showed that at the time of the crime, the migrant was not aware of his actions.  The criminal case of insulting the feelings of believers will move to a court, which will decide on the application of compulsory medical measures against him,” says a statement posted on the Investigative Committee’s Telegram channel.  

Recall, the Zyuzinsky District Court of Moscow on June 18 placed the 20-year-old Tajik citizen Askar Butayev under arrest for two months for extinguishing candles in the Orthodox church.

The Telegram channel of the Courts of General Jurisdiction of Moscow reported that Askar Butayev would remain in a pre-trial detention center at least until August 18, 2024, while the investigation was ongoing.

The press service of the Main Investigative Committee’s Office in Moscow said criminal proceedings had been instituted against Butayev under the provisions of Article 148 (4) of Russia’s Penal Code – violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religion with the use or threat of violence; n investigation is under way.

According to the investigation, Butayev entered the Church of St. Righteous Warrior Fyodor Ushakov in Moscow’s Southern Butovo district on June 18 and “publicly performed actions that showed blatant disrespect for society, intending to insult the religious feelings of believers.”

The press service reported that after being reprimanded by a female parishioner for his behavior, Butayev used violence against her.

A video recorded by parishioners and published by the Telegram channel Baza shows the young man walking around the church with a prayer mat and extinguishing candles.  He appeared unfazed by the fact that he was being filmed.

According to Baza, "Askar had arrived in the capital just a few days ago and was staying in a hostel near the church."