Priest in Crete Sentenced for Violating COVID-19 Face Mask Rules

Αssociated Press

FILE- An Orthodox priest swings a chain censer in front of faithful during a Sunday mass taking place outside a church, in Athens, Sunday, May 17, 2020. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

RETHYMNO, Greece -- A priest in Rethymno, Crete, was sentenced to nine-months in jail on Friday for inciting disobedience against the National Public Health Organization's directive on the mandatory use of face masks.

The priest, whose sentence was suspended for three years, spoke against the use of face masks while performing a blessing ceremonyduring the opening of a local kindergarten on Monday.

The priest reportedly refused to wear the protective face mask during his trial, and told judges he would sue them for wrongdoing and refused to apologize, citing the lack of a defense attorney by his side.

The clergyman said he will appeal against his sentence, and reportedly added that it was not him who was tried, but the truth, the law and God, and said that he performed his duty without remorse and with pride.