Romanian court releases alleged human trafficker Andrew Tate from house arrest pending trial
PHOTO CAPTION: Andrew Tate talks to media representatives while being loaded inside a van outside the headquarters of the Bucharest Court of Appel, in Bucharest, Romania, February 1, 2023. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea via REUTERS
BUCHAREST (Reuters) - A Bucharest court ruled on Friday to release internet personality Andrew Tate from house arrest where he is awaiting trial on charges of human trafficking, placing him under judicial control, a lighter restrictive measure.
"We've been completely innocent since the beginning of this and I have to give absolute faith to the Romanian judicial system for finally making the right decision of letting us free," Tate told reporters gathered outside his house on the outskirts of Bucharest. "I'm sure in the end we'll be absolutely exonerated."
Tate was indicted in June along with his brother Tristan and two Romanian female suspects for human trafficking, rape and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women, allegations they have denied.
Under Romanian law, the case is now with the Bucharest court's preliminary chamber, where a judge has 60 days to inspect the case files to ensure legality. The trial will not start until that process is completed.
The Bucharest Court of Appeals on Friday in a written ruling said it "replaces the house arrest measure with that of judicial control for a period of 60 days from August 4 until October 2."
Under the new measure, the four suspects can leave the house, but not the capital Bucharest and the surrounding Ilfov county. They must check in regularly with the police. They are also banned from trying to approach the victims.
The Tate brothers, who have dual U.S. and British citizenship, have been under house arrest since April pending an investigation into abuse against seven women, whom prosecutors say were lured through false claims of relationships.
They were initially held in police custody from Dec. 29.
Tate, a self-described misogynist, has gained millions of fans by promoting an ultra-masculine lifestyle that critics say denigrates women.
(Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Sharon Singleton and Mark Porter)