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Moscow court finds Beslan 'healer' guilty of fraud

MOSCOW, July 7 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court on Monday found guilty of fraud the self-proclaimed healer, Grigory Grabovoi, who had claimed to be able to resurrect children killed in the 2004 Beslan school siege.

Grabovoi, 44, was found guilty of 11 counts of fraudulently obtaining money "under the guise of resurrecting the victims' dead relatives or curing them of serious illnesses." He has yet to be sentenced.

The Tagansky Court noted that "Grabovoi took money from them and informed them that their relatives would soon be resurrected and that they would be able to meet."

In 2005, Grabovoi made headlines all over the world when he promised to resurrect children killed as Russian forces stormed a school that had been seized by Chechen militants in the North Caucasus town of Beslan. A total of 331 people, including 186 children, died in what has been referred to as Russia's 9/11.

In March 2008, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that Grabovoi and his "social-political organization" - Drugg - had enjoyed the protection of high-up members of the Russian government and that the approval of then-President Vladimir Putin had been sought before his arrest in 2007.

Grabovoi had at one point claimed to enjoy the support of the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, saying that he had been issued a license to work in the Central Asian state. The Kazakh Embassy in Moscow denied this.

The Mothers of Beslan organization, a number of whom supported Grabovoi, said the "healer" had been used by the Russian authorities to discredit the group as it attempted to resolve a number of issues surrounding the events leading up to the Beslan siege.

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