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Investigators Seek International Warrant for Escaped Rights Activist

Maxim Yefimov, head of the Youth Human Rights Group of Karelia, left the country before investigators could question him.

Karelian investigators on Tuesday requested international police issue a search warrant for a journalist and human rights activist who fled abroad fearing prosecution over his criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church.

A source in the local police told RIA-Novosti that authorities had taken the step because Maxim Yefimov, head of the Youth Human Rights Group of Karelia, had left the country before investigators could question him.

Yefimov was charged with inciting hatred after publishing an article entitled "Russia Is Tired of Priests," which likened the Orthodox Church to United Russia, calling it a "ruling party" interested in money.

He faces two years in prison if convicted.

According to a New Times report, Yefimov was in Poland and wasn't planning to return to Russia. Local media said Yefimov had reached Britain.

Interpol has yet to add Yefimov to its wanted persons' list, which typically takes a few days after a country requests the international police body file a search warrant.

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