Sydney spiritual leader appears in court on rape charge

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Sydney, Jan.21 (ANI): A spiritual leader of a Sydney religious group was presented before a court today on a charge of rape.

Mohammad Memar Zadeh, 38, of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order based in Balmain appeared via video link at Central Local Court this morning, reports Fox News.

He was refused bail by the magistrate, Jane Culver, and remains in custody.

He did not enter a plea.

Zadeh was charged with aggravated sexual intercourse without consent in December with a woman who was, according to court documents, "under his authority" as spiritual leader of the organisation.

The alleged offence took place in Chatswood between three and five on the evening of December 5.

Newtown Police subsequently arrested Zadeh on December 10 at the Sufi Centre on Mullens Street, Balmain, where he lived.

The Nimatullahi Sufi Order is a spiritual organisation dedicated to the "realisation of truth through love and devotion", its website says. The centre offers a public space for meditation on Thursday and Sunday nights. (ANI)

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