Belgium prosecuting Scientology

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Belgium Aims to Take Down Scientology

Scientologists may soon be facing their most challenging court case yet. After a years long legal battle, federal prosecutors in Belgium now believe that their investigation is complete enough to charge the Church of Scientology and its leaders as a criminal organization on charges of extortion, fraud, privacy breaches, and the illegal practice of medicine.

Flanders News reports that the decision "follows years of investigation that was triggered by a complaint by the Labour Mediation Service in the Brussels Region. Labour mediators were unhappy with a number of labour contracts."

The Belgian newspaper added:

"The matter ended up on the desk of examining magistrate Michel Claise, who ordered raids on Church of Scientology premises in 2008. During the raids police managed to seize a wealth of evidence."

Two Belgian newspapers, De Tijd and L'Echo, are also reporting that the Belgian federal attorney is now seeking prosecution.

According to multiple reports, the Belgian government will not charge Scientology for being a cult. Instead, they are focusing on prosecuting it as a criminal organization, which is a rather new twist. Most of the groups court battles to date have focused on establishing its legitimacy as a religion.

Belgian authorities have been battling with Scientologists since 2007, when the government tried to label the group with a cult status.

The Church of Scientology's European headquarters are located in Brussels, so any ban in Belgium could be devastating to the group.


Belgium prosecutor's office accuses Church of Scientology of being "a criminal organization"

A news report from a Belgium television station (embedded below) says that the criminal charges have been brought by the Belgium Federal Prosecutor's Office. The prosecutor's office accuses the Church and two of its senior executives of "the illegal practice of the art of healing, fraud, extortion, forgery and use of false documents, beach of privacy, and being a criminal organization."

This is incredible!!! Wow!!!! This could set a valuable precedent of prosecution against $cientology and criminal convictions for their activities. :party:


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Belgium Prosecuting Scientology as a Criminal Organization

Wow, Belgium is prosecuting Scientology for the way it treats people, not for what its members believe. Is there hope that, some day, the US government will get a clue and do the same? We have some initial thoughts from our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen.

On the other hand - a cheering note - I believe the US and Canada are ahead of most of Europe in their approach to Narconon.

Maybe 2013 will see an increased sharing of information between the different authorities. The Belgians certainly envisage such a development.

And the Greeks are already doing so, as I posted in another thread:

From a WWP article about banning Scientology in Greece:

The Greek Minister of Education and Religious Affairs with his decision number A3-88/17.10.2000 had rejected the ‘‘Greek Church of Scientology" 's request for permission to operate a house of prayer, on the basis that it does not constitute a church. The Minister's decision was based on a number of decisions of institutions abroad, as well as on the number 7380/1996 decision of the Court of First instance of Athens and the number 10493/1997 decision of the Athenian Court of Appeal, which ordered the closing down of the Center of Applied Philosophy of Greece...
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Diamond Invictus SP
There's an update on this over at the Bunker this morning:

Jonny Jacobsen: New Scientology legal setbacks in Belgium, France, and Holland

Once again we have a special report from our man in Paris, British journalist Jonny Jacobsen. He has news of three new developments: Scientology’s maneuvering has been cleared away so that a Belgian prosecution of fraud against the church can occur, an attempt by Scientology to sue one of its biggest critics in France for libel has been denied, and Holland’s highest court has reversed and remanded a ruling about Scientology’s tax exemption in Amsterdam. Jonny, take it away…

Belgium’s highest court has rejected Scientology’s last appeals and sent 13 senior members and two of its organizations there for trial, a Belgian newspaper reports.

It is the latest twist in a long-running criminal investigation that the Underground Bunker has been covering since December 2012: but this time it seems, the legal logjam has been broken. The rulings mean that the defendants will be tried on charges ranging from criminal organization, criminal conspiracy, fraud, the illegal exercise of medicine, and invasion of privacy, L’Avenir reported on Friday.

Also, some earlier threads with news related to Belgium as well (some from 2012-13):

Scientology membership collapsing in Belgium

Belgium deciding if Scientology to face trial in criminal court

Belgium suing Scientology and 10 members for FRAUD!

Belgium watching contact between politicians and Scientology

Scientology allegedly targeting the Congo via Belgium

Belgium prosecuting Scientology
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