France: COS says Justice Ministry infringing on appeal trial (Nov. 3, 2011)


Patron Meritorious
Translation of a French article posted on Oct. 24, 2011 on many websites, for example: La Scientologie attaque une circulaire sur les "dérives sectaires"

Scientology attacks a French Justice Ministry circular on "sectarian abuses"

October 24, 2011

The Church of Scientology announced on Monday that it has filed a complaint with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges following the publication by the French Ministry of Justice of a circular which, according to the Church of Scientology, infringes on the right of "religious minorities" to a fair trial.

The circular on "vigilance and the fight against sectarian abuses", dated September 19, was addressed by the Justice Ministry to prosecutors and presidents of courts of first instance and courts of appeal.

Its distribution comes as the appeal trial of the Paris branch of the Church of Scientology is set to start on November 3 in Paris. After a first trial, the Celebrity Centre and its bookstore, the movement's two principal entities in France, were fined, respectively, 400,000 euros and 200,000 euros for organized fraud.

In the circular, which is available online, the Justice Ministry reminds judges of the legislative texts that are applicable to sectarian abuses and makes recommendations about "verifying whether victims are in a state of psychological subjection."

The document cites "tests, purification treatments, vitamin cures" as examples of techniques that can lead to alteration of a person's judgment.

These examples are "religious practices of Scientology", protested one of Celebrity Centre's lawyers, Michel de Guillenschmidt, during a press conference. His colleague Jean-Marc Florand said that this document "clearly has no other purpose than to put pressure on judges" as the trial approaches.

"We also plan to notify the Justice Ministry of a claim for damages as a result of a wrongful act," added François Jacquot, attorney for the "de facto leader" of Scientology in Paris, Alain Rosenberg.

For the Church of Scientology, the circular "is just the latest in a series of measures implemented by the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with Miviludes [Interministerial Mission of Vigilance and Combat against Sectarian Abuses] to undermine the independence of the judiciary and the right to a fair trial for religious minorities in France."

Considered a religion in the United States, the movement founded in 1954 by American science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard was classified as a cult in France by a 1995 parliamentary report. It claims 12 million followers worldwide and 45,000 in France.


My Own Boss
LOL, 12 million worldwide and 45,000 in France.

I see the CULT is getting on its high heels again, boohoo.

Or should I say Dinky Davey is.

It'll be interesting to see how it all pans out. Knowing the French, they won't give a damn.


Patron Meritorious
Translation of a French article posted on Oct. 25, 2011 on the website of Le Figaro:
Avant son procès en appel, la Scientologie hausse le ton
Scientology ups the volume before its appeal trial

By Angélique Négroni
October 24, 2011

Scientology's six lawyers are complaining about a circular issued by the Ministry of Justice on the subject of sectarian abuses and they are promising many polemics.

Nine days before its appeal trial in Paris for organized fraud, Scientology is already in battle mode and objecting to "scandalous pressures" on the court. At a conference Monday held by no less than six lawyers, Scientology challenged a September 19 Justice Ministry circular about "vigilance and the fight against sectarian abuses". In principle, this is a supplementary guideline document to make magistrates more aware of the phenomenon of cults.

For the organization founded by L. Ron Hubbard, this is a way to exert pressure on the judges who, beginning on November 3, will once again review the case for which Scientology was severely sentenced in 2009. Fines of 400,000 euros and 200,000 were levied against Scientology's two principal entities, the Celebrity Centre and its bookstore. Scientology's de facto leader received a two-year suspended sentence and was fined 30,000 euros.

Abuse of weakness

The circular gives examples of abuse of weakness "by describing Scientology's religious practices," protests Michel de Guillenschmidt: "I am shocked." The circular mentions "tests, purification treatments, vitamin cures, prolonged fasts," all of which, it is true, are practices used by Scientology, but Scientology is far from having a monopoly on them.

To refute any accusation of paranoia, Scientology cites as evidence for its allegations the circular's publication date: September 30, more than a month before the trial. The lawyers announced that a complaint against this circular has been filed with the United Nations Special Rapporteur. This adds to another legal action in connection with the first trial, in which the prosecutor requested the dissolution of the Celebrity Centre and its bookstore. It turned out that this penalty was inapplicable. A few weeks earlier, a legislative change that went completely unnoticed made it impossible to dissolve a legal entity convicted of fraud. The Church of Scientology launched a lawsuit last June against the government of France for gross misconduct for having requested this sentence that Scientology considers "illegal". This procedure is still in progress.

Finally, on Monday, Scientology's lawyers attacked the UNADFI, an association that combats sectarian abuses and which was denied recognition as a civil party at the first trial. The UNADFI is appealing this decision and will be in court on the side of the victims on November 3 "and perfectly serene", according to its attorney, Olivier Morice, who adds: "The attacks leveled against this association reveal that the Church of Scientology fears its presence at the trial." A trial that Scientology's lawyers will attempt to delay. On Monday, they announced that they will raise several issues of constitutionality and request the cancellation of the first trial. All of which goes to show the importance of this next hearing for Scientology.