Police in Italy say they’ve damaged up a “psycho sect” that enslaved members by forcing them to stick to a strict macrobiotic weight loss program and reduce off contact with the surface world.
5 persons are beneath investigation over allegations together with maltreatment and tax evasion.
Among the many suspects is a enterprise mogul who’s accused of manipulating followers of the weight loss program he created.
Mario Pianesi reportedly instructed them that Ma.Pi. would supply miracle cures.
The investigation began in 2013 after a younger girl left the sect and denounced its head to police.
They discovered that in addition to having to pay for the weight loss program and provides donations, members had been coerced into working lengthy hours with subsequent to no pay.
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Mr Pianesi, a widely known macrobiotics entrepreneur in Italy, is claimed to have given lengthy speeches espousing the doctrine of his weight loss program and brainwashing followers.
The burden of 1 girl dropped to 35kg (77lb) because of adhering to his inflexible regime, native media report.
Investigators mentioned sect leaders particularly manipulated individuals with psychological well being issues, persuading them to show away from conventional drugs.
The allegations embrace felony organisation with the purpose of decreasing individuals to slavery.
The accused haven’t responded publicly.
What’s a macrobiotic weight loss program?
- Developed within the 1920s by a Japanese thinker known as George Ohsawa
- Attracts concepts from Zen Buddhism
- Focuses on decreasing animal merchandise, and selecting natural, regionally grown and seasonal produce
- Some individuals solely eat complete grains equivalent to brown rice, bean merchandise and contemporary fruit and veggies
- Others take a extra relaxed method and eat small quantities of meat, fish or nuts
- Additionally contains life-style suggestions, equivalent to solely consuming when hungry and solely ingesting when thirsty, and avoiding microwave ovens and electrical hobs
- Suggests avoiding flavoured, caffeinated or alcoholic drinks
- Advocates declare it will possibly assist deal with or treatment most cancers. Nevertheless, Cancer Research UK states that there is no evidence to support this