Trial of Ashram Shambala sect to continue in November
NOVOSIBIRSK, September 9 - RAPSI. A Siberian court adjourned until November 8 the Ashram Shambala sect leader's trial on Friday, a court official told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI).
Law enforcement authorities detained Konstantin Rudnev, 44, in his cottage near Novosibirsk in September 2010. The court later issued an arrest warrant for him.
Earlier, law enforcement authorities attempted to hold Rudnev liable on three occasions in 1999, 2004 and 2008, but the cases collapsed before they could be referred to court. The sect members refused to testify against Rudnev, saying they joined the sect voluntarily and did not wish to leave.
Not a single witness summoned to court appeared at a session yesterday, the court official said.
This is the third time during the trial that witnesses have failed to arrive for unknown reasons.
Rudnev was charged with organizing a group that committed acts of trespassing and encroaching people's rights, rape, sexual assault and illegal drugs trafficking.
Law enforcement authorities maintain that the sect was established in 1989 in Nosibirsk and now has branches in 18 regions across Russia, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Some media report that the sect had 30,000 members, although out of this number only 16 were recognized as victims of his crimes.