Cult leader Rael denied residence in Switzerland

AFP/February 19, 2007

Cult leader Rael, who shot to media prominence in 2002 by claiming to have cloned a human being, has been denied residence in Switzerland for fear of endangering public morals, authorities said.

Rael, a French citizen whose real name is Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon, had sought residence in the Canton Valais in the southwest of Switzerland, where he wished to carry out "commercial activities" in a local vintners.

The Valais authorities refused his application because many of his views are at odds with the Swiss constitution, notably his approach to children and sexuality.

Rael preaches a doctrine of "complete sexual liberty" and believes parents should show their children how to obtain sexual pleasure, "which by its nature can lead to sexual deviance with under-age children," the authorities said in a statement.

Human cloning is also legally forbidden in Switzerland.

Rael, who claims to have some 50,000 followers around in the world, said in a brief statement he was considering an appeal at a European level.

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