A cult leader who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ has been in pre-trial detention by a Russian court for two months.
Former traffic cop Sergei Torop, 59, known as Vissarion, is suspected of using physical and psychological violence against a number of followers.
Two other leaders of his Church of the Last Testament, Vadim Redkin, a former rock star, and Vladimir Vedernikov, have also been remanded in custody.
The trio has been accused of using “psychological violence” that causes some followers to “seriously harm their health.”
Torop is a former Red Army conscript who claimed he was reborn in 1990 as the literal reincarnation of the Son of God.
Sergei Torop, 59, known as Vissarion, who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, has been in pre-trial detention by a Russian court for two months
Torop is a former Red Army conscript who claimed to have been reborn in 1990 as the literal reincarnation of the Son of God (pictured in 2009)
Two other leaders of his Church of the Last Testament, Vadim Redkin (pictured), a former rock star, and Vladimir Vedernikov, have also been remanded in custody.
“Torop will be held for two months until November 22,” Judge Alla Veselykh said at a court in Novosibirsk, Siberia’s largest city.
The group’s leaders are accused of using their followers’ money to make a profit.
They can face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
The ‘Jesus’, aged 59, was held Tuesday in a military-style attack on his religious headquarters in Sun City in a Siberian village 800 kilometers east of Moscow.
A photo appeared today showing a suicide note and an executioner’s rope – seen as part of evidence that his followers had suffered harm.
Today a photo appeared with a suicide note and an executioner’s rope – seen as part of evidence that his followers had suffered harm
Torop today dismissed the charges against him specified by the Russian Commission of Inquiry, equivalent to the FSB.
He questioned the words of the alleged victims, claiming that he had never seen some of them.
‘I’ve never seen one before and I saw one more fifteen years ago. Over the past three years, three of these people have been constantly causing problems and filing their complaints, ”he said.
Redkin called on human rights organizations to help the sect.
The operation to arrest him (photo) apparently involved the Russian National Guard, a force under the command of Vladimir Putin, as well as the FSB’s security service.
He alleged that the complainants had “mental disorders” and should not be believed by the police.
“I live in the taiga, on the land,” he said.
‘There I have a wife and three small children, minor children. It will be very, very difficult for them now. ‘
The operation to detain Torop involved four helicopters and dozens of heavily armed officers from the Russian National Guard, a force commanded by Vladimir Putin, the FSB’s security forces and the Commission of Inquiry.
Redkin, Torop’s chief aide, who was pictured being carried away by police, called on human rights organizations to help the cult
Videos released by members of the cult showed masked Special Forces officers with machine guns from Spetsnaz in the group’s territory in the remote Kuraginsky District of Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia.
Other officers were plainclothes.
The group – which has been banned from smoking and drinking alcohol – has resided in Siberia for years and it is unclear why the Russian authorities now took action during an early morning attack.
He claims to have 5,000 followers, hundreds of whom live in wooden huts in the remote ‘Sun City’ camp in Petropavlovka, some 2,600 miles east of Moscow.
Armed troops are depicted during Tuesday’s attack in Siberia, with dog handlers also present
According to one estimate, there were 90 families on the site today who were invaded by authorities.
Other adherents of the “messiah” live in nearby villages.
He heads what is known as the Church of the Last Testament, and has written a ten-volume “sequel to the Bible.”
Three years ago, the cult leader told the BBC: ‘We have a school here with noble girls.
“We prepare girls to become future wives, future brides for worthy men.
Vladimir Vedernikov (photo yesterday) was also arrested and escorted by agents during the raid
“She needs to understand not to rise above the man, not to be proud of her independence, but to be shy, discreet and weak.”
He is said to have two wives with six children.
He turned down his first wife and married a 19-year-old who had lived with him since he was seven.
He lives in a comfortable chalet, while his followers stay in wooden huts in one of the coldest regions of Russia, where temperatures drop to minus 50 ° C in winter.
Torop woke up after being fired as a night-shift traffic cop in the Siberian city of Minusinsk, he claims.
Torop claims to have 5,000 followers, hundreds of whom live in wooden huts in the remote ‘Sun City’ camp in Petropavlovka, some 2,600 miles east of Moscow
God had sent him to earth to teach mankind about the evils of war and the destruction we wreaked on the environment, he claimed.
The cult leader abolished Christmas and replaced it with the anniversary date of his own first sermon, August 18.
He claims that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is his own mother.
Official records show that his biological mother was called Nadyezhda.
He has followers in Germany and several other European countries.