04 May 2018, 10:33
Suspected organizer of Aum Shinrikyo sect's unit arrested in Moscow
Moscow, May 4, Interfax - Moscow's Basmanny District Court on Thursday authorized the arrest of Mikhail Ustyantsev, who is suspected of establishing a unit of the Aum Shinrikyo terrorist sect.
"Following the investigator's petition, Ustyantsev has been remanded into custody until June 12 as a restraining measure," court spokesperson Yunona Tsaryova told Interfax.
Ustyantsev has been charged with setting up a terrorist community, namely a stable group of people who teamed up in advance in order to perpetrate terrorist actions and take part in them (Parts 1 and 2 of Article 205.4 of the Russian Criminal Code).
Ustyantsev was detained as part of a "criminal investigation opened in 2015 against unknown persons who had set up a community of Aum Shinrikyo followers in the form of a religious group, the activity of which involved violence against citizens, in the territory of Moscow and St. Petersburg no later than 2011."
The Russian Investigative Committee announced in April 2016 that it was investigating a criminal case opened into the establishment of a group whose activity involves violence against citizens and causes other harm to their health.
"The organizers of this community exerted physical and psychological pressure on citizens, forcing them to make donations and give away their property," the Investigative Committee said then.
According to the community, from 2012 to 2014 this Aum Shinrikyo unit carried out its unlawful actions via the Internet, collecting donations at meetings of Aum Shinrikyo followers.
Aum Shinrikyo is a religious syncretic extremist sect founded by Shoko Asahara.
Aum Shinrikyo gained a worldwide notoriety after a terror attack in the Tokyo subway on March 20, 1995. In five coordinated attacks, the sect members released poisonous gas sarin in the Tokyo metro. A total of 13 people were killed and about 6,000 injured in the attacks.
Thirteen members of the sect, including Asahara, were sentenced to capital punishment later. A total of 188 Aum Shinrikyo members were charged in this case.