BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Divisive social media personality Andrew Tate arrived in handcuffs at a court in Romania on Tuesday morning to appeal a judge’s earlier decision to extend his sentence from 24 hours to 30 days because he was accused of being part of an organisation, criminal group, human trafficking and rape.
Tate, a 36-year-old British-American national who has amassed 4.4 million followers on Twitter, was initially arrested on December 29 in an area north of the capital Bucharest along with his brother Tristan, who is charged in the same case. Two Romanian women are also in custody.
All four immediately challenged the extension of detention, which prosecutors were granted on December 30. A document explaining the judge’s rationale for the extension says that “the possibility of them evading investigation cannot be ignored” and that they “could leave Romania and settle down”. to countries that do not allow extradition.”
A ruling from the Bucharest Court of Appeal is expected to come later Tuesday, Eugen Vidineac, the Romanian lawyer representing Tate, told The Associated Press.
Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT said after the late December raids it had identified six victims in the case who had been subjected to “acts of physical violence and psychological coercion” by the group and sexually exploited by group members.
The agency said the victims were lured by love shams and were later intimidated, monitored and subjected to other control tactics into engaging in pornographic acts designed to generate significant financial gains.
Prosecutors investigating the case have so far seized a total of 15 luxury cars — at least seven of which belong to the Tate brothers — and more than 10 properties or property from companies registered with them, said Ramona Bolla, a spokeswoman for DIICOT.
Bolla said if prosecutors can show they made money from human trafficking, the property “will be taken by the state and (will) cover the costs of the investigation and the damage done to the victims.”
If the court decides on Tuesday to uphold the warrant extension, prosecutors could request a maximum detention of 180 days. If the court overturns the extension, the defendants could be placed under house arrest or similar conditions, such as B. a travel ban from Romania.
Since Tate’s arrest, a series of ambiguous posts have appeared on his Twitter account, each drawing widespread media attention.
One released on Sunday, accompanied by a local report suggesting he or his brother may have required medical attention since being incarcerated, reads: “The Matrix has attacked me. But they misunderstand, you can’t kill an idea. Hard to kill.”
Another post that appeared on Saturday reads, “Going to jail when you’re guilty of a crime is the life story of a criminal…going to jail when you’re totally innocent is the story of a hero.”
Tate, who has reportedly lived in Romania since 2017, was previously banned from various prominent social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.
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