Cult leader sentenced to 11 years

Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:14 AM

NOVOSIBIRSK, Russia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Siberian court sentenced the founder of one of Russia's largest religious cults to 11 years in prison for sex abuse against his followers.

Konstantin Rudbev, the leader of Ashram Shambala, was convicted of rape, sexual assault, drug trafficking and creating an organization that infringes on people's rights, RIA Novosti reported.

His organization reportedly has 30,000 followers. Sixteen followers testified in the case, RIA Novosti said.

RIA Novosti said video records showed he had abused some of his followers, and many of those who joined the cult have gone missing or have lost their money and property.

Rudnev said he plans to appeal the sentence.

RIA Novosti said he was detained in September of 2010 and later pleaded guilty to the charges.

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