UK Maoist cult leader found guilty of raping followers

Aravindan Balakrishnan faces life in prison for sexual abuse, the imprisonment of his daughter and causing bodily harm.

    UK Maoist cult leader found guilty of raping followers
    Balakrishnan, known as Comrade Bala, led a radical communist group in London in the seventies [Toby Melville/Reuters]

    A Maoist cult leader has been found guilty of sexually assaulting his female followers and imprisoning his own daughter in a London commune for 30 years.

    A jury on Friday found 75-year-old Aravindan Balakrishnan guilty of four counts of rape and six counts of indecent assault. He was also convicted of causing bodily harm, cruelty to a child and false imprisonment.

    Prosecutors said Balakrishnan, known as "Comrade Bala," led a small radical communist group in London in the 1970s. They say he sexually abused and brainwashed his followers into believing he had God-like powers.

    "There are no words to express the pain that Bala and the collective has caused me. I was bullied, tormented, humiliated, isolated and degraded," his daughter, who is still recovering from her ordeal, said in a statement given to the court.

    "I lived in constant fear and was deprived of a normal life. I was a non person, no-one knew I existed."

    The case came to light in 2013, when police released three women from a south London house, saying they had been cut off from the outside world for decades.

    Balakrishnan - who denies all charges - faces a maximum punishment of life in prison and will be sentenced at a later date.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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