South Korean doomsday cult leader has been detained for six years for assault and brutal rituals handed out to hundreds of followers to dispel & # 39; evil spirits & # 39;
- Shin Ok-ju convinced 400 of her followers to move to Fiji to protect themselves
- Once arrived, their passports were taken and they suffered physical torture
- Shin has been convicted of violence, child abuse and fraud and was convicted yesterday
The leader of a South Korean doomsday cult who has held hundreds of followers imprisoned and subjected to violence and barbaric rituals has been imprisoned for six years.
Shin Ok-ju, founder of Grace Road Church, convinced 400 followers to move to Fiji in 2014, where she said they would be safe from impending disasters.
But once they arrived on the island, their passports were taken from them and many were allegedly beaten or subjected to brutal rituals, allegedly aimed at expelling evil spirits.
On Monday, a South Korean court found Shin guilty of multiple charges, including violence, child abuse and fraud.
Shin Ok-ju, founder of Grace Road Church, convinced her followers to move to Fiji in 2014, where she said they would be safe from impending disasters
"The victims were helpless in collective assault and experienced not only physical torture, but also severe anxiety and significant mental shock," the court said.
& # 39; Severe penalties are inevitable against illegal acts performed in the name of religion & # 39 ;, it added in a statement earlier this week.
The six-year sentence was confirmed yesterday.
Some followers who escaped told journalists that those who tried to leave the church were punished with serious public blows known as & # 39; ground threshing & # 39 ;.
& # 39; A son beat his father 100 to 200 times during a thrashing session & # 39 ;, a former follower told a South Korean TV show.
& # 39; Another congregant was hit more than 600 times and died after returning home & # 39 ;, one witness said.
Cultures inspired by Christians have sprung up like mushrooms in South Korea, where more than a quarter of the population is Protestant or Catholic.
A mega-church leader who claimed to be the Messiah was sentenced to 16 years in prison in May for being raped by several female followers.
Cultures inspired by Christians have sprung up like mushrooms in South Korea. Last year, pastor Lee Jaerock (depicted in a court in Seoul) was convicted of raping several of his followers
Pastor Lee Jaerock was convicted last year for raping eight women more than 40 times.
The 75-year-old had denied the charge and claimed that the victims were all highly educated persons, and it was therefore & # 39; impossible for anyone to sexually attack them & # 39 ;.
Earlier this year, the Seoul Supreme Court confirmed its original conviction and added a ninth victim who came forward after his first trial and extended his sentence by one year.
Another group, the World Mission Society Church of God, predicted the end of the world on December 31, 1999.
Despite the failed prediction, an anti-cult group estimates that the church has more than 200,000 followers, although it claims more than two million.
The founder Ahn Sang-hong, who died in 1985, is actually worshiped as the heavenly Father.
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