14:31 GMT16 June 2021
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    Maxwell is accused of grooming young girls and women for late disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with running a sex trafficking network of minors in 2019. She has denied the allegations and claims she is innocent.

    The family of Ghislaine Maxwell has accused officials at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York of subjecting her to "inhuman" treatment. In a statement posted on the Twitter account "Real Ghislaine", her relatives wrote that the US is violating the United Nations' "Mandela Rules", which Washington is a party to.

    ​The 122 rules adopted in 2015 were named in honour of South African anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison over the course of his struggle for democracy. They outline minimum standards for the treatment of those who are detained – pre-trial or after conviction.

    Since Maxwell being incarcerated in a New York prison in the summer of 2020, her lawyers have complained about the "onerous" and "cruel" conditions. They said that prison guards shine a light in her eyes every 15 minutes at night.

    Her legal team also said that Maxwell has been forced to undergo numerous body scans and her cell is searched multiple times a day. A close friend of Ghislaine Maxwell's family said she is forced to wear paper clothes and no bra as prison officials fear she could take her own life. The British socialite compared her own treatment to that of the fictional villain Hannibal Lecter, who ate his victims.

    The development comes several days after a US circuit court of appeals rejected her request for bail and for a hearing on her prison conditions. Judges previously denied her bail, saying she remains a flight risk. They remained adamant even after her legal team revealed that Maxwell would give up her French and British passports.

    Her lawyer David Markus said that the prison conditions as well as the decision to deny her bail are connected to Jeffrey Epstein’s death.

    "We all know the truth — this is due to the Epstein effect. Because Epstein died on the Government’s watch, it has decided to torture Ghislaine", Markus said.

    Who is Ghislaine Maxwell?

    She is the daughter of British publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell. In the 1990s, she met US financier Jeffrey Epstein and the two dated. Even after their relationship ended, Maxwell is said to have maintained close contact with Epstein. The latter was charged in 2019 with running a sex trafficking network of minors. Dozens of women claimed Epstein had raped and sexually assaulted them, including when they were underage.

    The women also accused Maxwell of luring them into Epstein’s hands, promising them well-paid jobs. Some of the women claimed that she not only groomed, but also took part in the abuse.

    However, Epstein didn’t live to see his trial. He was found dead in his cell on 10 August 2019. His death was ruled a suicide. Thus, Maxwell is the only person who can shed light on his crimes. Her trial is scheduled for 29 November. She faces eight charges, including sex trafficking of minors and enticing minors as young as 14 to engage in illegal sex acts. She claims she is innocent and insists that the prosecution has made her a scapegoat for Epstein's crimes.


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    rape, sex trafficking ring, Sex Trafficking, Sexual Assault, Jeffrey Epstein, Ghislaine Maxwell
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