MOSCOW, March 13, 2000 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow's Ostankino court at its Monday hearing ruled damages to victims of the Russian arm of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinri Kyo. The court decision, under which 2,435,600 roubles is to be paid, ends five years of litigation. A Russian public group called Committee for Salvage of Youth from Destructive Cults, which acts a collective claimant in the damages action, campaigns for implementation of the Moscow district court's ruling by which it ordered two and a half million roubles to be paid to victims in damages. The money is available as proceeds from the sell off of the sect's building on Moscow's Zvyozdny Boulevard.
At the start of this year, the committee asked a court department of the Russian Supreme Court for assistance to enforcement of the damages ruling. A lawyer of the collective claimant in turn filed a complaint at the Ostankino court against a bailiff who miscomplied with the court ruling.
The Russian Prosecutor-General's Office recognized 26 citizens of Russia and other CIS states as victims of Aum Shinri Kyo, who were its former members left in need of psychological rehabilitation, families who lost their bread-winners to the sect, people who committed suicide after exposure to the sect's manipulation and people who ceded their property to the sect.
The Russian branch of Aum Shinri Kyo was banned by the Ostankino court's ruling of April 18, 1995. However, nobody was punished and no damages were paid to victims thus far. Meanwhile, Aum Shinri Kyo is pursuing its activism in Russia. In particular, one of its centers is located in the village of Yeltsy in the Vladimir region.
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