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Court expected to decide fate of Russian sect leader in late June

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, June 10 (RIA Novosti) - A court in Russia's Penza Region is expected to decide in late June whether the leader of a doomsday sect that spent half a year underground should be kept in a mental asylum, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

A criminal probe against Pyotr Kuznetsov has been sent to the Bekovo District Court for sanctioning compulsory medical measures.

"The case is most likely to be considered in late June," said Tatyana Ostrovskaya, a senior aide to the Penza Region prosecutor. The decision will depend on the results of the patient's treatment, she said.

The 35 sect members caused a media storm in Russia after digging themselves a large cave in a ravine last November, and sealing themselves in to wait for the Apocalypse, which they claimed would come in May. When special forces threatened to drive them out of the enclosure, the sect members warned they were ready to set fire to their fuel supplies.

A total of 24 members, including four children, left the dugout following the collapse of the roof in late March. The nine remaining members came to the surface in mid-May, with food supplies running low and the smell from the corpses of two women who had died there becoming unbearable.

Kuznetsov has been in an asylum since he was hospitalized in early April following what police said was a suicide attempt.

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