Sect children were handed over to Germany

News Panorama – Germany
June 14, 2014
Thomas Hasler
Translated from the German

Members of the Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult tried to hide two children in Switzerland. In September 100 German police liberated 40 children in a spectacular raid on the Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult. They later brought the children to foster care. The parents were accused of cruelly and regularly beating their children. They appealed to the Bible. There it is, whoever loves his children, will chasten him with a rod.

The raid was the culmination of a long debate about the three isolated Twelve Tribes communities in Germany. The parents fought in court for every child, some with success. Then the Twelve Tribes brought several children abroad in order to escape the clutches of the German youth welfare offices.

Two children ages 17 and 9 were brought to Switzerland. In this case the district court of Nördlingen revoked the parents parental rights. A mutual legal assistance request was made to Switzerland and the two children were returned to Germany. The officers picked the children up, brought them to the border and handed them over to the German authorities.

The child and adult protection authority recognized the so-called surrender decision.

The father sharply attacked the authorities in the South German newspapers. “Screaming and trembling” the children were taken out of the grandmother’s house. The 17 year old complained in a letter to German chancellor Angela Merkel about the “brutal and aggressive intervention into private life.”

The parents also complained to the Swiss courts but the Bern upper court did not register their complaint. The parents then went to federal court. But this was not entered yesterday on the complaint – for technical reasons. First due process must be initiated, where parents are interviewed. The Supreme Court emphasized, however, that the German authorities according to the Hague Child Protection Convention was solely responsible for the children.

The German court has ruled that the oldest daughter who will soon be 18, must return to her parents in Switzerland.

Years of dispute

The Twelve Tribes have been arguing for over ten years with the German school authorities because they refuse to send their children to public schools. The parents don’t want their children taught sex education and the theory of evolution.

To get closer to the sect, RTL journalist Wolfram Kuhnigk grew a beard and knocked on the door of the Twelve Tribes cult in Klosterzimmern in Nördlingen in Bavaria. He spent several days with the sect and filmed with hidden cameras as children were beaten up. This lead to the police raid in September when rods and sticks were removed from the houses.

The Twelve Tribes sect originated in the 1970s in the USA and now has around 60 communities worldwide. Bases in Europe are Germany, France and Spain.

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