18 January 2011, 15:25
"Alien" from Sirius sect leader to remain in custody in Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk, January 18, Interfax - A court in Novosibirsk has extended the custody of leader of the Ashram Shambala sect Konstantin Rudnev, charged with setting up a sect and committing sexual offences.
Rudnev's custody and the criminal investigation have been extended by two months, spokesperson for the top regional investigative committee Marina Kinzhalova told Interfax.
Fifteen former members of the sect, who now reside in other regions, have been recognized as victims.
Reports said earlier that police in Novosibirsk region crushed the Ashram Shambala sect in October 2010.
Rudnev calls himself Sri Jnan Avatar Muni and also "an alien from Sirius", sent down to the earth to enlighten humans and lead them to the truth.
The sect, led by Rudnev, was set up more than 20 years ago, according to the regional police.
Rudnev was charged with establishing a religious organization, which violated citizens' privacy and rights, and with rape and sexual abuse. He was arrested in early October 2010.
Two cottages in the village of Plotnikov and Kirov, bought on the sect's money, were seized as part of the criminal investigation.
The sect used Oriental occult practices. Its members, mostly young people aged between 17 and 30, would be isolated from their habitual environment and social contacts, pressured psychologically and emotionally, and incited to leave there homes, break up with their relatives and switch from usual moral standards to sectarian.