A nine-year-old boy has died after being whipped by members of a religious sect including his own father who were trying to "drive out demons", police say.
The Russian boy, named only as David K, had a gag stuffed in his mouth to stop his screams during the attempted exorcism, it is claimed.
His father is alleged to have helped whip the child with other people from the cult while the boy's mother held him down.
Members of the Disciples of Jesus Christ sect prayed by his body for two days after he died from the ordeal, seeking to “resurrect” him.
When this failed, his body was buried in woodland near a lake in the Yugo-Zapadny district of Yekaterinburg, east of the Ural Mountains, it is said.
A call to police from the child’s aunt led to the discovery of the boy’s corpse.
Both parents are among a number of sect members detained on suspicion of murder over the horrific case.
Forensic experts said he died from asphyxia and that whip marks were visible on his body.
The father and a woman sect leader called Zemfira Gainullina were detained in Russia.
The child’s mother was held in neighbouring Belarus and Russia is seeking her extradition, according to reports.
Gainullina posted shortly before she was held: "Many times we were persecuted for the name of Jesus Christ, but no-one could blame us for anything, because there was no crime in us.
“No-one could forbid us to live the way the Lord Jesus Christ leads us.”
Dr Alexander Neveev, an expert on religious cults in Russia, said: “In this sect it was believed that sinfulness should be beaten out of children.
“It was necessary to fight the devil.
“When punishing a child, you should not pay attention to his or her suffering, because in hell, he or she will suffer even more.
“Of course, a person whose head is filled with such nonsense is simply not able to understand that a child should not be hurt.”
To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.