Kazakh authorities arrest leader of local Aum Shinri Kyo terror sect

A Kazakh court has convicted the leader of a local branch of the Aum Shinri Kyo terror sect, the group blamed in a deadly 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway, security officials said Wednesday.

Vladimir Kamenev, 36, was sentenced last week for administrative violations and released on probation, the Committee for State Security said. He was arrested late last year in the southern city of Kyizyilorda when he was hospitalized for tuberculosis after refusing to accept treatment. In the hospital, he also tried to spread the cult's ideas, officials said.

Kamenev first learned about the cult by going through an indoctrination program with the Moscow branch of the sect in 1996, security officials said. He returned to Kazakhstan and started a yoga group, but was actually preaching the cult's ideas, authorities say.

Aum Shinri Kyo was founded by Shoko Asahara in Japan in 1987, and has spread in Kazakhstan through traveling members spreading Asahara's writings.