Some members of Ananda Assisi arrested. Donald Walters fugitive.

Religious group forced followers into slavery, 9 arrests

La Republica, Italy/March 6, 2004

Perugia -- Nine people that ran an association of the religious type, named "Ananda," with its seat in Nocera Umbra, were arrested under the accusation of having induced, under "strong psychological pressure," their own followers to rid themselves of their own goods in order to turn them over to the managers of the group, that operates at both a national and international level.

This morning, with a joint operation, officers from the Gico branch of Customs and the carabinieri of the Gubbio company carried out nine remand orders (the tenth, destined for the spiritual leader, was not served) issued by Perugia judge Nicla Flavia Restivo at the request of assistant district attorney, Antonella Duchini.

The charges are criminal association, coercion into slavery, and swindling the mentally incompetent. All those arrested are also being investigated for fraud and usury.

"Their conduct was of the highest social gravity," said the district attorney of Perugia, Nicola Miriano in a press conference, "because they acted, through their firm belief at a psychological level, on weak people to draw from them an illicit profit.

We're dealing with an activity that is more dangerous than many others." "The investigation into "Ananda" -- reminded the provincial commanding officer of the carabinieri of Perugia, Renato Gatti - was begun in June of 2002 by the carabinieri of Nocera Umbra on the grounds of the reports of ex-followers.

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