A nine-year-old boy was killed in a violent ritual to ‘drive out demons’ by a religious sect and his parents, police say.
A gag was put in David K’s mouth to stop him screaming while he was whipped by adults including his father, it is alleged.
The boy’s mother is reported to have held the boy during the "exorcism".
Both parents are among a number of sect members detained on suspicion of murder over the horrific case in Yekaterinburg, a city is Russia.
After the child died, sect members prayed by his body for two days seeking to “resurrect” him, reports say.
When this failed, his body was buried in woodland near a lake in the city’s Yugo-Zapadny district.
The child’s aunt contacted police which led to them discovering the boy’s corpse.
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, according to reports.
Russia is now seeking her extradition.
The sect was named as Disciples of Jesus Christ.
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.”
“In this sect it was believed that sinfulness should be beaten out of children,” an expert on religious cults in Russia, Dr Alexander Neveev, said.
“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.”
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