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About the Church of Scientology

News from the media during 2007

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Media news:

bullet 2007-APR-05: Russia: Human rights court rules in favor of Scientology: In an unanimous decision, the European Court of Human Rights determined that the Russian Federation's Moscow Justice Department acted incorrectly by refusing to process multiple applications for re-registration by the Church of Scientology Moscow as a religious organization. They found that the Justice Department

"... did not act in good faith and neglected their duty of neutrality and impartiality vis- -vis the applicant's religious community."

The Court also awarded the Church EUR 10,000 Euros for non-pecuniary damage, costs, and expenses. 1,2

bullet 2007-OCT-05: Samoa: Police minister says Scientology no threat: According to Radio New Zealand in Apia, Samoa:

"Tole'afoa Apulu Fa'afisi, says a goodwill visit by Scientology volunteer ministers is crucial for the country as their mission is to provide disaster seminars and training for everyone."

"The minister, who opened the Scientology training program yesterday was responding to more than a hundred Christian protesters from various denominations who marched to show their disapproval of the Scientologists visit."

"Tole'afoa says the government's support for the Scientology volunteers is for the important training they are providing which will teach people how to survive disasters." 3

bullet 2007-NOV-01: Spain: Court rules Scientology to be listed as a religion: The administrative tribunal of Madrid's High Court ruled that an earlier decision by the justice ministry decision to remove the church from the religious register was:

"... against the law. ... As a result it is more correct, and within a liberal interpretation which applies to the matter, to grant the requested inscription" in the list of recognized religions. 4

bullet 2007-NOV-04: Belgium: Government builds case against Scientology: A former member of the Church in Belgium was unhappy with a course that she attended and attempted to obtain a refund of 700,000 Belgium Francs (about U.S. $17,000) in course fees. This triggered a decade-long investigation by Belgium prosecutors who have allegedly concluded that the Church is a "criminal organization." Lieve Pellens, a spokesperson for Belgium's Office of the Federal Prosecutor is reported as saying:

"I always say that you are innocent until proven guilty, but we really have enough elements and statements that we can prosecute them for a number of crimes and misdemeanors."

The church describes the investigation as a "witch hunt." Fabio Amicarelli, executive director of the European Scientology office is reported as saying:

"The charges are totally false. "If it's so clear cut, why did it take 10 years?"

Scientology attorney William Walsh said:

"The prosecutor's statement leaking this information to the press is evidence that the heart of his case revolves around improperly evaluating the religion and attempting to somehow characterize it as a fraud."

He referred to a similar case in Italy where 67 Scientologists were acquitted of fraud, criminal association and other charges in 1991. After an appeal, the Italian Supreme Court ruled that Scientology met the characteristics of a religion and that its practices were like those of other religions. 5 

bullet 2007-DEC-07: Germany: Government builds case against Scientology: The federal and state interior ministers of Germany have declared the Church of Scientology unconstitutional. They have asked the country's domestic intelligence agency to determine whether the Church's status as an organization could be challenged. Scientology is not recognized as a religion in Germany.

The church responded with a statement saying that the move  "completely out of step with the rest of the world. ... [It is] a blatant attempt at justifying the on-going and never-ending discrimination against the Church of Scientology and its members in Germany." They note that a decade of surveillance by the government "has uncovered absolutely no wrongdoing." 6

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "European Court of Human Rights finds in favour of Scentology and against Russia in key registration case," Censur, 2007-APR-05, at: http://www.cesnur.org/
  2. "Church of Scientology Moscow versus Russia," Wikipedia, 2007-OCT-30, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. "Samoa police minister says country is not endangered by Scientologists" Radio New Zealand, 2007-OCT-05, at: http://wwrn.org/
  4. "Spanish court rules Scientology can be listed as a religion," AFP, 2007-NOV-01, at: http://news.yahoo.com/
  5. "Belgium builds case against Scientology. Prosecutors call the church a 'criminal organization.' The church says it's a 'witch hunt'," St. Petersburg Times, 2007-NOV-04, at: http://www.sptimes.com/
  6. "Germany moves to ban Scientology," BBC News, 2007-DEC-08, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/

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Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-OCT-14
Latest update: 2008-NOV-25
Author: B.A. Robinson

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