Freiburg official did not know Swiss law

Basel, Switzerland
December 1, 1999
Sindelfinger Zeitung

Former state Constitutional Security agent sentenced in Basel to 30 days suspended

Basel - A former state Constitutional Security agent whom Switzerland had arrested for illegal information procurement was sentenced in Basel on Tuesday to 30 days jail suspended.

by Karl Friedrich Rommel

The state attorney's office accused the Freiburg policeman of having traveled into Switzerland under the cover name of "Peter Goller" in order to learn more about the controversial Scientology organization. The officer had been temporarily assigned to the Stuttgart State Office for Constitutional Security because he was regarded as a sect expert.

The 41-year-old was arrested on April 6, 1998 by the Swiss police at a meeting in the vicinity of the Basel railroad station. He was placed in detention for three days, and was not released until the Baden-Wuerttemberg security officials had apologized and posted 25,000 franks bail. The case caused a stir nationwide and encumbered relations between German and Swiss security agencies. Stuttgart Constitutional Security is interested in the activities of Scientology in Switzerland because that is where the activities of the organization in Suedbaden are allegedly directed from.

The officer asserted in court that he had not known that mere contact with Swiss citizens was prohibited foreign activity. That sort of thing is legal in Germany.

The agent had met in Basel with Zurich sect critic Odette Jaccard, who was also charged. Along with them was Basel canton politician Susanne Haller, who abhors these type of "snooping methods" and who played a questionable role in the case. She herself disputes having lured the agent into a trap, but much indicates that is the case. He had only wanted to pick up the two women in Basel, said the accused. Mrs. Jaccard (64) has health considerations. Therefore they had planned to drive together across the border to German Weil am Rhein. The officer said that it was a mistake to have been talked into going with the two women to a Swiss hotel restaurant. "I deeply regret having transgressed Swiss sovereignty," he said before the court. He said that Mrs. Haller had urged that the meeting take place on Swiss soil.

The state attorney's office had asked for suspended punishment of 60 days incarceration; the sect critic Jaccard, they thought, should be sentenced to 30 days in jail. The court gave her a ten day sentence suspended. The defense had asked for release of their clients, recompensation and the return of all documents which had been confiscated.

German Scientology News