Jesus Christians.com

Preferred Language:  English | Espanol | Deutsch | Francois | Po Polsku | Easy English

Australian Cult Member Freed In Kenya


An Australian member of a religious cult facing abduction charges in Kenya has been released from jail.

Roland Gianstefani, a leader of the Kenyan branch of the international cult Jesus Christians, was released from police custody in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The founder of the Sydney-based Jesus Christians Dave McKay claimed that as well as securing the 600,000 Kenyan shillings ($A12,000) bail, the group had to pay a bribe to secure Gianstefani’s release.

“They accepted the bail but still when we went to jail they wouldn’t let Roland out until he paid a bribe, although I don’t know how much it was,” he said.

“Now he’s out, he’s pretty fragile. Emotionally he’s weak and very frightened.”

Gianstefani, 42, from NSW, has been charged with abduction following the disappearance of journalist Betty Waitherero Njoroge and her seven-year-old son, Joshua.

However, in a statement released by the Jesus Christians last month, Ms Njoroge said the group had done nothing wrong and she was in hiding.

Ms Njoroge said her wealthy father had convinced police to keep Gianstefani as a “hostage” until she relinquished custody of Joshua.

Mr McKay said Ms Njoroge was willing to testify at Gianstefani’s trial.

Gianstefani, who is due back in court on September 2, has been barred from leaving Kenya.

If convicted, Gianstefani, who is also facing a charge of hawking without a licence, faces up to three years and four months in jail, according to the Foreign Affairs Department.

Mr McKay said Kenyan authorities issued a warrant out for the arrest of Gianstefani’s Australian wife, Susan, 37.

Roland and Susan Gianstefani were given suspended six-month jail sentences in 2000 by a court in Britain after refusing to reveal the whereabouts of an English teenager who left home to join the Jesus Christians.

Bobby Kelly, 16, disappeared in June 2000, saying he wanted to stay with the group and was found a month later living with two men in a tent in a Hampshire forest.

The Jesus Christians gained attention in Australia last year when they lied to health authorities so they could donate their kidneys to strangers.

NSW later introduced legislation to legalise the practice.

Mail us at:   fold@idl.net.au,    OR write to:    Godstuff Comix,  P.O.Box A678, Sydney South, Australia 1235