13 Aug 2018 13:58

Teen suspected of setting fire to church in Karelia to be evaluated for sanity

PETROZAVODSK. Aug 13 (Interfax) - A teenager suspected of setting fire to an 18th-century wooden church in Karelia will be examined for sanity, the local department of the Russian Investigative Committee said on Monday.

"A forensic inpatient psychological and psychiatric examination has been ordered to determine the teenager's competency to stand trial. In light of the suspect's age, he has been placed at the provisional center for teenage offenders of the Republic of Karelia's branch of the Interior Ministry," it said.

The investigation suspects that the 15-year-old teenager, who was staying at his grandmother's home not far from the church in Kondopoga, set fire to the Uspenskaya (Dormition) Church on the morning of August 10.

The 42-meter-tall church, a monument of trans-Onega wooden architecture, was built in 1774. It was located on the coast of the Kondopoga Bay in Lake Onega.

Firefighters spent two hours trying to extinguish the fire, but the church was destroyed. The Karelian Cultural Heritage Protection Office told Interfax that several theories were being pursued, including careless handling of fire by tourists.

An informed source told Interfax on Monday that a student identifying himself as a Satanist was suspected of setting fire to the church.