Former cult women to seek review of extradition order

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The Independent Online
TWO former members of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh cult wanted in the US on a murder plot charge yesterday cleared the first hurdle in their fight against extradition, writes Heather Mills.

Two High Court judges gave them the go-ahead to seek a judicial review of the Home Secretary's extradition order.

The court decided that Sally Croft, 43, and Susan Hagan, 47, had an arguable case that Kenneth Clarke, the then Home Secretary, had not properly tested the reliability of the American evidence before granting the order on 26 April.

Ms Croft, an accountant, and Mrs Hagan, an aromatherapist, deny that while members of the sect in Oregon more than eight years ago they conspired to murder an attorney investigating the cult. They face a possible 25-year jail sentence.

No murder attempt was made and no charges were brought against the pair for five years. Lord Justice McGowan and Mr Justice Leonard were told that the evidence against the women consisted of statements from witnesses who had made plea bargains resulting in immunity from prosecution or lenient sentences.