14:51 GMT +320 February 2018
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    Lawyers for notorious sect head Grabovoi turn to European court

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    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - Lawyers for the head of a notorious sect charged with fraud turned to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, claiming violations in the case of their defendant, a lawyer said Thursday.

    Grigory Grabovoi was charged in April in a case that caused an 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.

    Nikolai Khobnya, a lawyer for Grabovoi, said 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 about the events in Beslan.

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

    On December 15, the Khamovnichesky Court in Moscow ruled to remand Grabovoi, who was arrested April 6 after parents in Beslan demanded a probe into his activities, in custody until March 19, 2007.

    Khobnya said that one case for compensation for moral damages has already been submitted to the Savyolovsky Court in Moscow against the Komsomolskaya Pravda popular tabloid.

    The defense claims that the newspaper had been constantly repeating that Grabovoi was arrested only because of its reports about him.

    Grabovoi was charged with 11 counts of fraud "under the guise of resurrecting dead relatives of the victims or curing them of serious illnesses," prosecutors said.

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

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