Divisive influencer Andrew Tate awaits Romanian court ruling

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Andrew Tate, a controversial social media personality and self-described misogynist, waited Tuesday for a Romanian court to hear his appeal of his 30-day detention on charges of human trafficking, rape and membership in a gang. Organized crime to decide. group

Tate, 36, a British-American citizen who has 4.5 million Twitter followers, was first arrested on December 29. for 24 hours with his brother Tristan who was accused in the same case. Two Romanian women were also arrested.

All four appealed the judge’s Dec. 30 decision to grant the prosecutor’s request to extend the detention period to 30 days. A document explaining the judge’s reasoning said “the possibility of them fleeing the investigation cannot be ignored” and that they could “leave Romania and settle in countries that do not allow extradition”.

Tate and three other defendants appeared in handcuffs at the Bucharest Court of Appeal on Tuesday and were taken to the court in the afternoon. Romanian defense lawyer Eugen Vidinac, who is representing Tate, told reporters after the morning hearing that “all four defendants have given their statements” and “the lawyers’ claims were fully considered.”

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“The court must decide. We hope to have a positive solution for our customers.” Vidineac said.

Vidinak told The Associated Press that a decision on the appeal was expected later Tuesday.

Tate, a former professional kickboxer, has reportedly been living in Romania since 2017 and was previously banned from various social media sites for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. In the week of his arrest, he insulted teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg on Twitter.

Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT said it had identified six victims in the trafficking case who were subjected to “physical violence and mental coercion” and sexually abused by members of the criminal gang.

The agency said the victims were lured by the pretense of love, and then intimidated, monitored and subjected to other control tactics while being forced to perform lewd acts aimed at making money for the alleged abusers.

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The prosecutor handling this case has seized 15 luxury carsDIICOT spokeswoman Ramona Bulla said at least seven of them belonged to the Tate brothers and more than 10 properties or land belonged to companies registered to them.

If prosecutors can prove Tietz made money through human trafficking, those assets “will be taken by the government and cover the costs of the investigation and damages to the victims,” ​​Bulla said.

If the appeals court approves the extension of the detention order, prosecutors can ask for up to 180 days of detention for the four accused. If the court accepts the appeal, the defendants could be placed under house arrest or banned from leaving Romania.

Since Tate’s arrest, a series of ambiguous posts have appeared on his Twitter account. Each tweet attracts widespread media attention.

One of them, published on Sunday, was accompanied by a Romanian report that he or his brother had required medical attention since the arrest, and read: “I have been attacked by the Matrix. But they get it wrong, you can’t kill an idea. Die-hard.”

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Another post from Saturday read: “Going to jail when guilty is the story of a criminal’s life… Going to jail when completely innocent is the story of a hero.”

Hope not Hate, a British advocacy group, said it had been monitoring Tate for years “because of his close links to the far right”. The influencer was described in a report last year as an “extreme misogynist” with conspiratorial views.

After Tate was banned by Facebook parents, Hope Not Hate said in a statement: “Our main concern is that her brand of extreme and sometimes violent misogyny will reach a young male audience and that she could act as a gateway to far-right politics.” act more widely. Meta Company in August.

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