BUCHAREST, Romania — A court in the Romanian capital, Bucharest, has upheld the 30-day arrest of social media personality and self-proclaimed misogynist Andrew Tate on charges of organized crime, human trafficking and rape, an official said Tuesday evening. .
Ramona Bolla, spokeswoman for Romania’s organized crime agency DIICOT, said the court rejected an appeal by Tate against a judge’s earlier decision to extend his arrest from 24 hours to 30 days.
Tate, 36, a British-American citizen who has 4.5 million Twitter followers, was initially detained on December 29 for 24 hours along with his brother Tristan, who has been charged in the same case. Two Romanian women were also taken into custody.
The Bucharest Court of Appeal rejected on Tuesday evening the four appeals against a judge’s December 30 decision to grant prosecutors’ request to extend the arrest period. A document explaining the judge’s earlier decision said that “the possibility that they evade investigations cannot be ignored” and that they could “leave Romania and settle in countries that do not allow extradition “.
Tate and the three other defendants arrived at the Bucharest court in handcuffs on Tuesday morning and were taken away in the afternoon, hours before the court was due to rule against them.
Tate, a former professional kickboxer who has reportedly lived in Romania since 2017, has previously been banned from various prominent social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech. The week of his arrest, he exchanged insults on Twitter with young climate activist Greta Thunberg.
DIICOT said it identified six victims in the trafficking case who were subjected to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and were sexually exploited by members of the alleged criminal group.
The agency said the victims were lured into lovemaking, then bullied, kept under surveillance and subjected to other control tactics while being coerced into performing pornographic acts intended to earn money. to their alleged persecutors.
Prosecutors investigating the case seized 15 luxury cars, at least seven of which belonged to the Tate brothers, and more than 10 properties or land belonging to companies registered with them, DIICOT spokesman Bolla said. .
Bolla said if prosecutors can prove the Tates made money from human trafficking, the assets “will be taken by the state and (cover) the expenses of the investigation and damages to the victims. “.
After the appeals court upheld the extension of the arrest warrant, prosecutors can now seek detentions of up to 180 days for the four people charged.
Since Tate’s arrest, a series of ambiguous messages have appeared on his Twitter account. Each tweet attracts media attention.
One of them, published on Sunday and accompanied by a Romanian report suggesting that he or his brother have needed medical attention since their arrest, read: “The Matrix attacked me. But they misunderstand, you can’t not kill an idea. Hard to kill.”
Another post, from Saturday, read: “Going to jail when guilty of a crime is a criminal’s life story…going to jail when completely innocent is the story of a hero.”
Hope not Hate, a UK advocacy group, said it had monitored Tate for years “because of his close ties to the far right”. He described the influencer in a report he produced last year as an “extreme misogynist” who holds conspiratorial views.
“Our primary concern is that his brand of extreme and sometimes violent misogyny will appeal to young male audiences and could serve as a gateway to broader far-right politics,” Hope not Hate said in a statement after. the banning of Tate by the parent of Facebook. Meta company in August.