NOVOSIBIRSK, September 23. /TASS/. The Central District Court in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk on Wednesday arrested for two months Sergei Torop, the founder of a religious sect, the "Church of the Last Testament," Judge Alla Veselykh said.
Torop, who calls himself Vissarion, is suspected of setting up a religious group, which used violence against citizens, the judge said. "Torop will be placed in custody for two months, until November 22," she said.
Earlier two other leaders of the sect, Vadim Redkin and Vladimir Vedernikov, were also arrested for two months on similar accusations.
Torop has rejected the accusations against him. He has questioned the words of the alleged victims, adding that he had never seen some of them. According to him, many of these people, who are facing a challenging situation, are constantly complaining and expressing their discontent. "I have never seen one of them and I saw another one 15 years ago. In the past three years, three of these people have been constantly creating some difficulties and lodging their complaints," he said.
Early on Tuesday, law enforcement officers in Novosibirsk detained three leaders of the local religious group, the "Church of the Last Testament." According to the Investigative Committee, since 1991 Torop, Redkin and Vedernikov have led this organization. They are facing charges of setting up a religious group, which uses violence against citizens and causing damage to their health.
The group’s leaders are accused of using their followers’ money for making profits. They also allegedly used psychological violence, inflicting serious damage to the followers' health for a long time.
The "Church of the Last Testament" was set up in 1991 by Sergei Torop, who calls himself Vissarion. In 1995 his followers founded a settlement in the Kuraginsky district dubbed Sun City. Its members also live in many settlements of the Kuraginsky and Karatuzsky districts in the south of the Krasnoyarsk Region. Vedernikov leads a private school for children of the community’s members.