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Serbian priest who beat addict to death jailed for 20 years

Published on Jun 22, 2013 12:07 AM

BELGRADE (Reuters) - A Serbian priest was jailed for 20 years on Friday for beating to death a drug addict in his care, his lawyer said, in the latest blow to the reputation of Serbia's influential Orthodox Church.

A court in the western town of Sabac found priest Branislav Peranovic guilty of second-degree murder, saying he punched, kicked and beat to death addict Nebojsa Zarubac with a 1.5m stick in August 2012.

Peranovic was already known to the church authorities for his violent methods of treatment after a video surfaced in 2009 showing him beating addicts at another church-run facility. He was removed from his post but remained a priest and set up another rehabilitation centre.

"The sentence could have been greater, given the brutality, the way in which he was killed," said the victim's father Milos Zarubac, according to Serbian Radio B92.

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