Sect head charged with Beslan fraud claims remanded in custody

Moscow, Russia - A Moscow court has remanded in custody for another six months the head of a notorious sect who promised to resurrect children killed in the horrific 2004 Beslan school atrocity, an attorney said Monday.

Grigory Grabovoi was charged in April in a case that caused an uproar in both Russia and overseas after the head of a controversial sect claimed he could heal diseases and resurrect the dead, especially many of the 186 children who died after gunmen seized a school in the southern Russian town of Beslan. A total of 331 people then died in what is arguably Russia's worst terrorist outrage.

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

The court rejected a petition by Grabovoi's defense attorneys to release him from custody and turned down a petition to transfer the case from the Tagansky court to the Ostankino court in Moscow.

"We disagree with the court decisions and intend to appeal them in a higher instance - the Moscow City Court," Vyacheslav Makarov said.

He also said preliminary hearings were scheduled for September 25.

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