Case of notorious sect leader Grabovoi sent to court for trial

MOSCOW, March 14 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow prosecutors have sent the case of a notorious sect leader Grigory Grabovoi to court for a trial following a five-month delay due to flaws in the investigation case files, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Grabovoi was charged in June last year in a case that caused uproar in both Russia and abroad after the head of the controversial sect claimed he could heal diseases and resurrect the dead, especially the 186 children who died after gunmen seized a school in the southern Russian town of Beslan. A total of 331 people died in Russia’s worst terrorist outrage.

“Prosecutors spent five months correcting the flaws in the case materials and finally submitted the case to court,” Vyacheslav Makarov said.

On December 15, 2006, the Khamovnichesky Court in Moscow ruled to remand Grabovoi in custody until March 19, 2007. He was arrested last April after parents in Beslan demanded a probe into his activities.

Grabovoi’s lawyers turned to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, claiming violations in the case of their defendant.

Nikolai Khobnya, one of his lawyers, said at the time that his defendant was being kept in custody illegally and that he deserved compensation for moral damages inflicted by media reports of his allegedly fraudulent activities, including the events in Beslan.

“It is unclear on what decision he [Grabovoi] is currently in custody,” Khobnya said.

Grabovoi was charged with 11 counts of fraud “under the guise of resurrecting the victim’s dead relatives or curing them of serious illnesses,” prosecutors said.

The accused is said to have collected large sums of money from his victims.

If found guilty, the notorious healer could face a 120,000-ruble fine (over $4,500) or a two-year prison term.

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