Andrew Tate in court to appeal against extension to human trafficking arrest

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Social media personality Andrew Tate has arrived at a court in Romania in handcuffs, to appeal an extension to his arrest in a human trafficking probe.

A judge’s previously extended his detention period from 24 hours to 30 days on charges of being part of an organised crime group, trafficking and rape.

Tate, a 36-year-old British-US citizen who has amassed 4.4 million followers on Twitter, was initially detained on 29 December in an area of north of the capital Bucharest along with his brother Tristan, who is charged in the same case. Two Romanian women are also in custody.

Andrew Tate (third right) and his brother Tristan Tate (second right) arrive handcuffed and escorted by police at a courthouse in Bucharest

All four of them immediately challenged the arrest extension that was granted to prosecutors on 30 December. A document explaining the judge’s motivation for the extension says “the possibility of them evading investigations cannot be ignored,” and that they could “leave Romania and settle in countries that do not allow extradition.”

A verdict from Bucharest’s Court of Appeal is expected to come later Tuesday, Eugen Vidineac, the Romanian lawyer representing Tate, said.

Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT said after the late December raids that it had identified six victims in the case who were subjected by the group to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and were sexually exploited by group members.

The agency said victims were lured by pretenses of love, and later intimidated, surveilled, and subjected to other control tactics into performing pornographic acts intended to reap substantial financial gains.

The Tate brothers are appealing against their extended arrest

The Tates arrived at court in Bucharest, Romania on Tuesday morning

Prosecutors investigating the case have so far seized a total of 15 luxury cars — at least seven of which are owned by the Tate brothers — and more than 10 properties or land owned by companies registered to them, said Ramona Bolla, a spokesperson for DIICOT.

Bolla said that if prosecutors can prove they gained money through human trafficking, the property “will be taken by the state and (will) cover the expenses of the investigation and damages to the victims.”

If the court rules to uphold the arrest warrant extension on Tuesday prosecutors could request detention for a maximum of 180 days. If the court overturns the extension, the defendants could be put under house arrest or similar conditions such as being banned from leaving Romania.

Posts have continued to appear on Andrew Tate’s Twitter since his arrest

Since Tate’s arrest, a series of ambiguous posts have appeared on his Twitter account, each of which garners widespread media attention.

One, posted on Sunday and accompanied by a local report suggesting he or his brother have required medical care since their detention, reads: “The Matrix has attacked me. But they misunderstand, you cannot kill an idea. Hard to Kill.”

Another post, that appeared Saturday, reads: “Going to jail when guilty of a crime is the life story of a criminal — going to jail when completely innocent is the story of a hero.”

Tate, who is reported to have lived in Romania since 2017, has previously been banned from various prominent social media platforms for expressing misogynistic views and hate speech.