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24 Mar, 2008 06:36

Doomsday cult faces criminal charges

Local prosecutors in Russia’s Penza region have launched a criminal case against a doomsday cult that's been holed up in a cave for almost six months. Around thirty of its followers, including children, barricaded themselves in an underground bunker last

Charges of inciting religious and national hatred have been brought following an investigation into the cult. Prosecutors say a case has been opened not against a specific person, but against the cult in general. An application has been submitted to the court claiming that the books of Pyotr Kuznetsov, the cult’s leader, are of an extreme nature.

Meanwhile, Kuznetsov himself is being held in a psychiatric institution.

The people in the cave have been waiting for the end of the world, which they say is due in May. They claim to have enough supplies to last till then. The group have threatened to blow themselves up if any attempt is made to remove them by force.

Earlier, there were reports that some of the cult members might have left the hideout as local residents spotted unusual movement around the cave, but no official confirmation has followed.