A man of Indian descent who led a secretive extremist Maoist sect in London and was sentenced to 23 years in prison by a British court six years ago for a series of sexual assaults has died in prison.
Aravindan Balakrishnan, known to his followers as Comrade Bala, was convicted in 2016 on six counts of indecent assault, four counts of rape and two counts of actual bodily harm.
The 81-year-old who was found guilty of “brutal” assault died in custody on Friday at HMP Dartmoor prison in the south west of England, Britain’s Prison Service said.
The cult leader was convicted after a jury trial in December 2015, which found that he had kept his daughter in captivity for more than 30 years of her life.
The daughter described her situation in court as “appalling, degrading and humiliating”.
The judge convicted Balakrishnan in January 2016, saying, “You decided to treat her as a project, not a person. You claimed you were doing it for her to protect her from the outside world, but you created a cruel environment.”
Born in a Kerala village, Balakrishnan lived and grew up in Singapore and Malaysia before moving to the UK in 1963 to study at the London School of Economics.
There he met Chanda, whom he married in 1969, about when he started his collective.
Scotland Yard raided the couple’s flat in Brixton, south London, in November 2013 after two followers called the charity Palm Cove Society for help.
Balakrishnan had denied rape charges, telling the jury that he was “the center of competition” between “jealous” women who made sexual advances at him.
The conviction followed a lengthy investigation into a case Scotland Yard detectives described as “completely unique”.
Detective Chief Inspector Tom Manson, of the Metropolitan Police’s Organized Crime Command, said at the time: “It seems extraordinary that Balakrishnan can have such control over so many people, but all the victims told us in great detail that they believed in it very much. his claims to power and greatness and the threats he uttered against them. They all described feelings of fear and the fact that he had him completely under control.”
“All women have faced enormous challenges in adjusting to daily life since they left Balakrishnan’s control, but with the support of a number of charities and professionals, they are making exceptional progress and their bravery deserves recognition and praise,” he added. to.
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