Saturday, 29 December 2012

Belgium to Prosecute Church of Scientology

Originally posted by mnql1 on ESMB

Translation of a French article published in the December 28, 2012 edition of the Belgian daily newspaper L'Écho:

Belgium to prosecute Church of Scientology

December 28, 2012

After several years of investigation, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office has decided to launch court proceedings against the Church of Scientology of Belgium as a "criminal organization." The summonses for this matter were recently sent to the cult.

According to information gathered by our colleagues at the Tijd daily newspaper, the Belgian branch of the American cult and two of its senior officials are also accused of fraud, the illegal practice of medicine, various violations of the privacy protection law, and extortion.

An earlier investigation that began 1997 has been stalled for years and is still with the Council Chamber in Brussels.

The Church of Scientology of Belgium moved from Brussels to Malines (Mechelen) three years ago and has been present in Belgium since 1974.

The Belgian branch of the organization is very active (via myriad "courses" for businesses, exhibitions, marathons, etc.), and it receives logistical and financial support from the cult's European headquarters, which continues to be located in Brussels.

The new investigation by the prosecutor's office mainly revolves around the organization's internal practices. The starting point was a complaint by the regional employment services in Brussels concerning work contracts advertised by the "church" for volunteers and members.

The case landed on the desk of judge Michel Claise, who commissioned searches in April 2008. The documents that were seized allegedly provided evidence of extortion of members, of pseudo-medical practices, and the collection of information of a private nature.

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