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Guru's followers imprisoned in murder plot are released

Two British followers of the free-love guru Bhagwan Rajneesh were released from prison Wednesday after serving more than two years in prison for conspiring to kill a federal prosecutor.

The two, Sally-Anne Croft and Susan Hagan, were convicted in 1995 of involvement in a plot in the mid-1980s to assassinate Charles Turner, then U.S. attorney for Oregon. Turner was investigating allegations of immigration fraud and other crimes that ultimately brought about the collapse of the sect, the Associated Press reported.

The murder attempt was never carried out, and Croft and Hagan insist there never was a conspiracy.

Croft and Hagan were top officials in the sect, which attracted 4,000 followers in the mid-1980s to hear the teaching of Rajneesh, a luxury-loving guru known for his collection of 93 Rolls Royce automobiles. He died in India in 1990.

The two women were sentenced to five-year prison terms and freed this week after U.S. District Judge Malcolm Marsh in Portland, Ore., granted their sentence-reduction requests.

They were released into the custody of immigration officials for deportation proceedings.