Lawyer asks Broward court to appoint guardian for ‘cloned’ baby

Associated Press & sun-sentinel.com, Dec. 31, 2002
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/

FORT LAUDERDALE – Even as an infant said to be the first human clone was reported home with her mother, a lawyer in Broward County was asking that a state guardian be appointed for the child’s safety.

The baby, nicknamed “Eve,” went home Monday, said Clonaid spokeswoman Nadine Gary. The cloning company has been linked to a sect that believes space aliens created life on Earth.

Clonaid has refused to say where her home is, or where Eve was born last Thursday. The unidentified mother is 31-year-old American, Clonaid officials said at a news conference last week in Hollywood, Fla.

A lawyer, meanwhile, asked a judge Tuesday to appoint a guardian for the baby, saying that Clonaid is trying to commercially exploit the child and that she needs specialized medical treatment.

In documents filed in Broward Circuit Court, attorney Bernard F. Siegel, of Miami, said that if the judge determines the baby is in danger, she should be turned over to state care. Siegel admits in the documents that he does not know if the baby is in Florida, but argued that the court has jurisdiction because Clonaid held its news conference in the state last week. No hearing date has been set.

Clonaid did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

DNA samples are to be taken soon from the baby and the mother for testing to show whether Eve is a clone of the woman.

Clonaid, which declines to reveal where its facilities are, was founded in the Bahamas in 1997 by the man who founded the Raelian religious sect. The man, Rael, says he learned about the origin of life on Earth from a visitor from outer space. He says he views cloning as a step toward reaching eternal life.

The Web site www.watchdog.org says Rael was formerly known as Claude Vorilhon, a French journalist who says he founded the sect in 1973 after “was contacted by a visitor from an other planet, and asked to establish an embassy to welcome these people back to Earth.”

Clonaid, meanwhile, retains philosophical, but not economic ties to the Raelians, the company says.

Meanwhile, South Korean prosecutors are reportedly trying to verify reports that Clonaid officials impregnated a South Korean woman with a cloned human embryo and moved her out of the country in July.

The prosecutors recently seized documents and research data from a South Korea biotech company that reportedly helped Clonaid with the impregnation, the national Yonhap news agency said.

Prosecution officials quoted by Yonhap did not identify the country where the South Korean woman was thought to have gone.

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