Czech establishes sect, tortures its members

Brno, Czech Republic - Czech police in Brno have uncovered a sect whose 74-year-old spiritual leader for many years tortured five elderly women using them for slave labour for which he faces up to 12 years in prison, police officer Oldrich Kriz who is in charge of the case told journalists Tuesday.

The sect was based on the principles of the Grail Movement.

The pensioner, who has appointed himself the spiritual leader of the sect and his wife considered herself the sect's queen, lived in a joint household with five elderly women.

From the start, the women gave their pensions to the man, let him treat their illnesses using herbs and held joint spiritual meetings.

In 2000 the man transferred the ownership of their flats and houses on to himself, with their consent and then he formed a work team of the women.

The team worked at the construction of a luxury three-storey house of their leader in Brno doing rough brick-laying work.

The women also worked at his vineyard in south Moravia where they made stone paths for tractors.

Some of the women lived almost 20 years in the joint household with their spiritual leader. They were completely deprived of food that otherwise was very meagre for any disobedience of his orders.

Doctors' checks revealed that the level of women's malnutrition was similar to that of former concentration camp prisoners.

Police uncovered the case after one of the sect members refused to further obey the leader's orders and informed doctors of her problems.