An affidavit is a formal sworn statement of fact, signed by the declarant (who is called the affiant), and witnessed (as to the veracity of the affiant's signature) by a taker of oaths, such as a notary public. The name is Medieval Latin for he has declared upon oath.
One use of affidavits is to allow evidence to be gathered from witnesses or participants that may not be available to testify in person before the court.
The existence of affidavits by former devotees would be an important piece of evidence regarding allegations of abuse by Sathya Sai Baba. Joe Moreno claims these affidavits don't exist, whereas a number of important Sai critics assert they do.
There are a number of reasons for caution about releasing details about affidavits, other than at a carefully chosen time, assuming opportunity arises for one's own side. Affidavits are not lightly tossed around but given to keepers under strict conditions of confidentiality. They may also be used in any legal proceedings that seem the most favourable to Sai Baba or his organisation being brought to justice. Under strict control, affidavits can be released, with the full consent of the affiant, at senior levels where governments or the UN, other major institutions or ethical media have shown readiness to investigate. Affidavits can protect persons in court who have publicised the alleged sexual abuses by film or in other media.
I have been told that Indian victims are afraid of having their affidavits come into the public sphere because of the 1993 murders of four young men in Sai Baba's ashram. This case was mentioned in The Secret Swami documentary (Moreno denies that these murders occured). Many other murders and suicides of devotees have been reported from the Sai ashrams and surroundings but have been hushed up by the staff.
Add to this the heartless attempts by antagonistic devotees to dig dirt on and discredit alleging victims, some of whom I have been told are trying with professional help to recover from the serious sexual and other abuses they claim to have undergone at the hands of Sai Baba, and one can understand the reluctance to go public. Moreno is one of a small number of unrestrained insulters of alleging victims, people they have never met but in their self-righteous shadow-projection feel they have the right to accuse and slander. Those who have responded to Moreno, such as Said (Afshin) Khorramshahgol) have been treated so badly by him, being called liars and perverts etc., that it sends a signal to everyone that they will get the same treatment.
Regarding Moreno's statement, a usually reliable source tells me that:
"...the ten affidavits that KyrÝ got from Hari Sampath are all accounts of serious sexual abuse - not just oiling. The names of some of those involved have never been made known on the Internet or elsewhere. Another set of affidavits concerning serious sexual abuse obtained from Hari Sampath is held by a top legal professional. There are also a few more held in confidence by others. If no major court case arises where they can be used to effect, they will probably not be published until much time has passed, as research materials for posterity.
There are other affidavits which deal with other matters - not just sexual abuse, which are similar in status. Some of the many sent to the CBI in India and intended for use in the quashed Indian Supreme Court case by Hari Sampath were testimony about other criminal matters; i.e. not only sexual abuse. A few individuals made more than one affidavit. "
As always, look at all the information with sincerity, and then come to your own conclusions.
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