Sect leader vows to guard identity of alleged human clone
CNN, Jan. 3, 2002
SHERBROOKE, Quebec (CNN) –A company founded by members of a sect that believes mankind was created by extraterrestrials says what it calls the first human clone will not undergo testing to verify her genetic makeup.
The head of the Raelian movement, who calls himself “Rael,” said Thursday that he has told Clonaid’s leader not to perform DNA tests on the infant girl, nicknamed “Eve.”
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Appearing on CNN’s “Crossfire,” Rael said he had spoken with Clonaid CEO Brigitte Boisselier and told her, “If there is any risk that this baby is taken away from the family, it is better to lose your credibility; don’t do the testing.”
He added: “I think she agrees with me.”
Boisselier, a bishop in the Raelians, has claimed that a second cloned baby is expected to be born in Europe before Sunday, but she declined to name the country.
Clonaid had previously said Eve was to undergo DNA testing this week. Such a test would prove or disprove the company’s claim that Eve is a genetic duplicate of her mother. Clonaid did not return calls seeking comment late Thursday.
Rael said he made the decision after a “judge in Florida signed a paper saying that the baby Eve should be taken from the family, from her mother.”
However, no Florida judge has made such a ruling. A hearing date has been set in Broward County Circuit Court for January 22 on a lawsuit filed by attorney Bernard Siegel, who wants a legal guardian appointed for the baby girl.
If the child’s mother does not appear for the hearing, the court could conceivably order that the baby be taken away. The court could also delay any decision or rule that it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the case.
Clonaid, the company founded by members of the Raelian movement, had announced that the baby was born outside the United States on December 26, and said she would be brought to the United States on Monday. However, it is not known if that ever took place.
The baby’s whereabouts have not been revealed, nor has the birth been independently confirmed. Clonaid has said Eve was born to a 31-year-old American woman.
‘A rogue organization’
Siegel said Rael’s comments seemed to indicate the Raelians think “that they don’t have to answer to the law, which says to me that this is a rogue organization.”
“I want the whereabouts of this alleged child to be made public,” he said.
Noting that there has been no ruling yet, Siegel said, “I guess [Rael is] a better space alien than he is a lawyer. If my lawsuit has in fact called their bluff, then so be it.”
Rael, former French journalist Claude Vorilhon, contends human life resulted from extraterrestrial genetic engineering and argues that cloning is the key to eternal life.
Will the public get a chance to see the baby soon?
“I don’t think so,” Rael said in the “Crossfire” interview.
At another point, he was asked if his group had simply gotten away with a great publicity stunt. Rael, speaking from Canada via satellite, said his earpiece was having technical difficulties.
“I am so sorry, but the sound is so bad. I cannot hear anything,” he said.
He also said his Raelian movement is “completely separate” from Clonaid.