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Cult Leader Hopes To Make Bail

RELIGIOUS cult leader and abduction suspect Roland Gianstefani should be released from a Nairobi jail on bail by the end of the week, his Kenyan lawyer said last night.

Kenyan High Court advocate Edwin Chege told The Herald he believed the former Newcastle man would be allowed out of the prison once he met court demands involving sureties.

Gianstefani has been in custody since his arrest on a Nairobi street on June 18 on charges that he abducted a Kenyan woman and her seven-year-old son.

Police allege Gianstefani, who is the African leader of the Jesus Christians, a controversial religious cult with close ties to the Hunter, had brainwashed and abducted 27-year-old former journalist Betty Njorobe and her son, Joshua.

Gianstefani and Ms Njorobe, who is now in hiding, deny the charges.

Mr Chege said Gianstefani was close to raising the 300,000 Kenyan shillings ($5237) and the surety of a Kenyan national needed to be allowed out on bail.

He said it had taken some time to find a Kenyan willing to put property up as a surety.

Gianstefani would have to surrender his passport.

Mr Chege said the allegations against his client were false.

"The abduction charges cannot stand, because they [the police] do not have any statement from the alleged victim," he said.

Mr Chege said a warrant was out for the arrest of Gianstefani's wife, Susan, on the abduction charge.

The Jesus Christians claim to be a religious group with offices in Australia, the US, UK and Africa.

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