[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Novosibirsk regional court sentenced the founder of religious sect Ashram Shambala, Konstantin Rudnev, to 11 years in a colony.
Konstantin Rudnev, who calls himself an alien from Sirius, was accused of creating a religious association that infringed on the rights and personalities of local citizens. The sect practiced rape, sexual assault and illegal sale of drugs.
Rudnev was found guilty on four articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. In addition, the court ordered the defendant to pay the fine of 3.7 million rubles in favor of the victims. However, the court dismissed Rudnev from punishment for the creation of the religious association as the statute of limitations had expired – two years under the article. Rudnev told reporters that he intended to appeal the verdict.
Ashram Shambala was founded in 1989. Its founder was arrested in 1999, 2004 and 2008. To arrest Rudnev in 2008, special forces had to storm a house on the outskirts of Novosibirsk. Several people who were reported missing were released as a result of the operation.
However, the case of Ashram Shambala did not reached the court, because sect members refused to testify against Rudnev, claiming that they had entered the sect voluntarily. Rudnev was arrested only in October 2010. Four young women, who were reported missing, were found in the cottage of the 43-year-old sectarian.