Leaders Of London Cult That Kept Slaves Are Released

Leading Britain's Conversation/September 24, 2014

A couple who were arrested under suspicion of keeping three women as slaves as part of a “Maoist cult” have been released.

67-year-old Chanda Pattni was released without charge, while her 73-year-old husband, Aravindan Balakrishnan, was released on bail, after both were held on suspicion of slavery, domestic servitude and serious sexual offences.

The couple, who had run a notorious communist bookshop in the 1970s, were arrested at their house in Brixton, south London, on 21st November 2013, after the Met received a tip-off that people were being held against their will at the address.

When police entered the property they found a 30-year-old British woman, a 57-year-old Irish woman, and a 69-year-old Malaysian woman. Police later confirmed that the 30-year-old victim had spent her entire life in servitude, with limited “controlled freedom”.

The police tip-off came when one of the alleged victims contacted the Freedom Charity, following television coverage of forced marriages. The victim went on to claim that she had been brainwashed by the couple into staying with them as part of a political, Maoist cult, dedicated to the former Chinese communist leader.

Mr Balakrishnan is still under investigation for slavery offences. He is due to answer police bail in mid-December.

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