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.