Guru to ignore Florida summons

AFP, Jan. 5, 2003

The guru of a sect that claims to have cloned the first human baby said today he would ignore a Florida court’s summons that he appear at a hearing to appoint a guardian for the cloned infant.

Claude Vorilhon, who heads the Raelian sect and calls himself Rael, told Canadian public broadcasting TV that he would not answer a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, court summons to appear on January 22 with other principals to the cloned birth, which has never been authenticated by scientific proof.

“I have absolutely no intention” of appearing at the hearing, he said.

Vorilhon late yesterday said that DNA testing in progress to authenticate the cloning was stopped after the Florida court issued its summons.

Also summoned were Brigitte Boisselier, president of the Las Vegas-based Clonaid, an organisation linked to the Raelians which organised the purported cloning.

Clonaid has said the cloned child, called “Eve”, was born by December 26 by Caesarian section at a hospital outside the United States.

It said today that second human clone would be born in Europe this weekend.

Boisselier told Belgian private television VTM that the baby, a girl that will be born to a lesbian couple, would “be born in a country not far from here”.

She also said in the interview which was recorded in the afternoon that it was a country neighbouring Belgium but did not say which.

Belgium borders France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

VTM said that Boisselier, formerly a French chemist and the president of Clonaid, later claimed in a telephone conversation with a VTM journalist that the baby would be born in the Netherlands.

The Raelians believe the human race was started with a single clone engineered by extraterrestrials who came to Earth 25,000 years ago.

The Florida civil suit was brought by Miami lawyer Bernard Siegel, who said he was “concerned that, if this (the clonage) is true, this child is an abused child, that it could have some serious genetic, fatal problems and that the child was being exploited by Clonaid”, he said.

“The purpose of my lawsuit is to appoint a guardian for this child. Because I perceived that this child, more than any other child in the world, needs legal protection under the United States courts,” he said.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday January 4, 2003.
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