November 16, 1999
Scientologists convicted in Marseille
Paris (hhb). In a fraud trial against seven members of the Scientology sect, five sentences of imprisonment of between six months and two years, mostly suspended, were handed down in Marseille on Monday. Two of the accused were exonerated. The court, in the second largest proceeding against the sect in France, did not imposed the full sentence asked for by the state attorney's office.
The chief accused, 42-year-old Xavier Delamare, a former representative of the sect in Marseille and Nizza, was sentenced to two years imprisonment, of which 18 months were suspended. The remainder was served by time already spent in custody. Besides that, he must pay a fine of approximately 30,000 marks [about $23,000). Four other accused received suspended sentences of from six to twelve months incarceration. The court found the five guilty of having done ten people out of considerable sums of money between 1987 and 1990. The monies were said to have flowed to the Scientology Organization. After the sentencing, Delamare's attorney said the trial had been conducted in a "climate of terror."
Judgment against Scientology
Recruitment practices classified as fraud
November 16, 1999
(Switzerland) Der Bund Verlag AG, Bern & Autoren / www.eBund.ch
rbp. A leading Scientology member on the Cote d'Azur received two years imprisonment, of which six months will have to be served, for fraud and was fined 100,000 franks in Marseille. Five co-accused received suspended sentences of from six to twelve months imprisonment. They had been accused of having charged huge sums of money from several people acting in good faith for doubtful healing practices between 1987 and 1990.
Ten victims had filed charges, but only two of them dared to testify in court. The process was almost dropped because shortly before the proceedings began a portion of the court documents had landed in the shredder under very peculiar circumstances.
Seducers or martyrs?
The court in Marseille handed down a stiff, exemplary sentence against the organization which was founded by American science fiction author Ron Hubbard and which is regarded in France (and other European countries) as a dangerous sect. The accused' defenders, however, spoke of a "witch hunt" against a minority religion.
The attorney of the civil co-complainants believed the precedent-setting judgment confirmed that Scientology "presents a danger for society and the individual" and said that the authorities would now have to consider banning the organization. A similar case in Paris of French Scientologists before the court is pending in Paris in which, over a ten year period, investigations have been hindered by mysterious incidents.
Scientologists on Trial
Prison sentences for fraud
November 16, 1999
from our correspondent Hans-Hagen Bremer
Paris. In the trial of seven members of the Scientology sect on Monday in Marseille, five of those accused of fraud received prison sentences of between six months and two years, most of it suspended. Two accused were exonerated.
The court rated the "Purification Rundown" of the sect as a "deceptive performance without any curing effect." This sentence was not as much as the state attorney's office had demanded for those responsible in the sect in their second largest trial in France. The chief accused, Xavier Delamare (42), formerly a representative of the sect in Marseille and Nizza, was sentenced to two years confinement, of which 18 months were suspended. He was credited for the rest with his time in detention. Besides that, he must pay a fine of approximately 30,000 marks [$24,000].
Four others received punishment of confinement for from six months to one year suspended. The court found the five accused guilty of having done ten people out of considerable amounts of money between 1987 and 1990 by pseudo-therapeutic methods. Most of the monies flowed to the Scientology organization.
Xavier D., especially, was said to have stopped at nothing in his efforts. The proceedings had been instigated by the complaint of a doctor who had been sold completely worthless tests and cures in the Dianetic Center of the sect for 132,000 franks (40,000 marks/$32,000).
However, it was ten years before the process could be opened this past September. And then it was almost dropped before it started. Nine of the ten victims had withdrawn their complaints - presumably out of fear of reprisal by the sect, as the representative of the remaining co-accuser hinted. Besides that, the justice administration, shortly before, had to admit that important court documents had been "mistakenly" destroyed in the shredder one year before. At the time, the President of the Paris government commission to counteract sects, Alain Vivient, expressed a suspicion that the justice department and other state administrative organs had been infiltrated by the sect.
After the sentence was announced, Delamare's attorney stated that the trial had been conducted in a "climate of terror." He said the people had wanted to lynch his client. The Scientology organization described the judgment in a press release as the result of a political decision. Stating that Scientology had allegedly been acknowledged by most of the democracies in the world as a religion, Scientology demanded the dissolution of the governmental commission to counteract sects.
November 15, 1999
Prison sentences in Scientology trial at Marseille
Marseille (dpa) - In the fraud trial against seven members of the Scientology, prison sentences of from six months to two years, mostly suspended, were handed down on Monday in the southern French city of Marseille. Two of the accused were exonerated. The court did not impose the full penalty demanded by the state attorneys. Nevertheless, Scientology mentioned a "climate of terror" against the organization.
Xavier Delamare (42), former regional representative of the organization, was sentenced to two years in prison by the state court, of which 18 months were suspended. Besides that, he has to pay a 100,000 frank fine. The state attorneys had asked that Delamare be given three years in prison, 18 months suspended, as well as a 200,000 frank fine.
In the four other cases, the court handed down sentences of from six months to one year in prison suspended. The two men and five women were or are still members of Scientology. They were accused of having done a total of ten people out of a considerable amount of money between 1987 and 1990.
The complainant was sold expensive medical-therapeutical treatment. The proceedings were the second largest in France against members of this organization, and were initiated on the complaint of a former member.
In their plea for release, the attorneys of the seven men and women had talked of "inquisition" and "religious debates" which they said were not matters for a court. In an initial opinion, the Scientology organization said that Xavier Delamare was being made a "scapegoat" in a politically tinged affair. By that statement, the organization was attacking the chairman, Alain Vivien, of the Paris government commission to counteract sects.
November 15, 1999
Five Scientology members convicted of fraud
Organization talks of politically tinged judgment
Marseille (AP) A court in Marseille has sentenced five member of the Scientology to prison terms of from six months to two years for fraud. The judges found the five guilty of having compelled numerous people between 1987 and 1990 to take the so-called "Purification Rundown," which cost up to 150,000 franks (about 50,000 marks/$40,000). Two of the accused were let free.
Among the convinced was Marseille Scientology region chief Xavier Delamare. He was sentenced to two years in prison, of which 18 months were suspended. His attorney stated that they would take their time in considering appealing the verdict. In any case, the penalties were less than that demanded by the state attorney's office.
The investigation against the Scientology Organization began in 1990 in France after a former member complained. The organization described the judgment as "politically motivated" and the court trial as an "inquisition." It confirmed its intention to bring the case to the attention of international human rights organizations.
Preliminary Investigation against Scientology in Paris continues
September 29, 1999
Paris (dpa) - In Paris, the preliminary investigation against the Scientology Organization for suspicion of fraud and possible illegal practice of medicine is being continued by Judge Marie-Paule Moracchini. This was decided by an appeals court on Wednesday in Paris. The future of the preliminary investigation had been in limbo. The subject party had made an application to the state court for the case to be dropped on account of "inactivity" by the judge. Meanwhile important documents in the case had disappeared a year ago. The investigation has been going on, with occasional interruptions, since 1989.
On November 15, Judgment will be pronounced in a trial being conducted in Marseille against seven members of the Scientology Organization for fraud. Court documents for that process had been mistakenly destroyed by a records official, according to an investigation by the Justice Ministry in Paris.
"Journey to the Prison of the Mind"
September 21, 1999
In France a trial against the Scientology sect has caused a sensation - and aversion for its totalitarian methods.
by Juerg Schoch, Paris
The accusers had to wait ten years for the trial to open. Yet when it finally got that far on Monday morning in a Marseille court, the defense immediately tried to block the proceedings again. That hardly came as a surprise after everything which had occurred in the long period prior to the event.
The "Journey to the Prison of the Mind," as "Liberation" titled its perspective, began in the 1980s, when the Scientology "church" offered its services in Nizza and Marseille: individual sessions and lengthy courses were supposed to "purify" people plagued by worries and wants and transform them into a state of "clearness." They were indeed transformed, but not in that way, as the investigations have shown.
After having taken the services, some had to receive psychiatric treatment - and this was after they had paid a total of up to 35,000 franks for Scientology course fees. Which Scientology stated was the respectable net gain of a provider of healing. In 1989 the income of the Nizza branch alone reached 1.75 million franks.
That was the year in which the affair was kicked off. An "exhausted" doctor had signed up for treatment with the Scientologists and had made out a check for 33,150 franks. Afterwards he filed a charge of fraud. Other charges followed, although most of them were withdrawn after intimidations by threats from the "church." Today only two people are appearing as civil complainants. One of them is a young man who had belonged to the local Scientology staff in his time, and who therefore is familiar with its inner workings.
The Scientologists have done everything to sabotage the process. In 1995 the first trial had to be reheard due to procedural deficiencies. Before the second proceeding they had come down exceedingly hard on the court's personnel; outside of that an embarrassing event came to their assistance: it became known two weeks ago that a portion of the trial documents had been destroyed. It was immediately presumed that the adherents of the sect had infiltrated the Justice Department. An investigation by the Justice Ministry concluded that the documents had been mistakenly and wrongly done away with. The defense used the event as cause to apply for a postponement of the hearings. Whatever else, this would be extraordinarily troublesome.
According to a Parliamentary report, Scientology has about 10,00 adherents in France, nets at least 15 million franks a year, and operates five "churches," a book distributer, various associations and 114 businesses. There is ample evidence of infiltration. In a Parisian court case, documents also disappeared in an inexplicable manner.
Ban, dissolve or what?
Clarifications in the Palace of Justice have yielded that four or five of the 600 court personnel belong to sects which have been categorized as dangerous. The Chairman of the Interministerial Anti-Sect Committee, Alain Vivien, recently stated in a "Figaro" interview, "It has been stated, and has never been refuted, that the Scientologists managed to infiltrate the cabinet of a former state president. Attempts at infiltration into management of the arms bureaucracy have also been mentioned. . ." Vivien describes Scientology as a totalitarian movement which is trying to install elite units which are meant to govern the rest of humanity, the "happy slaves," as "church" founder Ron Hubbard called them.
It is relatively difficult for the French state to make a call in this situation. The strict separation between church and state is a fundamental principle. The central law from 1905 about secularism protects all areas of belief - under the provision, however, that these respect the public order. Therefore, the state cannot generally regulate the sect presence. But it can dissolve any organization which is dangerous. Vivien believes the Scientologists are one of these, as are the Solar Templists. And he can, as legal people have mentioned, deal harshly with any principle who misuses uncertainty or weakness in people. Now everything is riding on whether and how the seven accused in Marseille will be punished.
Fraud Trial against Scientology members in Marseille
September 20, 1999
Marseille (dpa) A fraud trial against seven members of the Scientology Organization has begun today in the Marseille State Court. They are alleged to have done ten people out of all or part of their financial holdings. The two men and five women see themselves as victims of lynch mob mentality. As had happened at an earlier Scientology procedure, trial documents from the court had been destroyed 'by oversight'. The proceeding opened nevertheless. Scientology threatened to use the UNO Human Rights Commission against France.
September 20, 1999
In Marseille, the trial for fraud against seven Scientology members has been rolled out anew. Two men and five women are charged. They are alleged to have taken all or part of ten people's money by deceptive methods. The trial was already heard once in 1995 in Marseille, but must be reheard due to a procedural error. The trial was preceded by a scandal over court documents which a records official had accidentally destroyed.
[Here are two different press releases by two different organizations on the same topic.]
Dianetik-Scientology Stuttgart e.V.
Press Release 10 July 99
French Cassation Court rejects General State Attorney's office appeal
Scientology acknowledged as religion
Paris A new chapter began in the history of the Scientology Church in France with a decision handed down by the French Cassation Court on June 30, 1999. The highest French court upheld a decision by the Appeals Court in Lyon - which made headlines all across Europe in July 1997 - whereby the Scientology Church was stated to have fulfilled all criteria of a religious congregation.
The General Attorney's Office had taken the appeal to the highest court to get nine prior acquittals (in three judgments), and primarily the establishment of the religious nature of Scientology by the Lyon Superior State Court, overturned. The latter was a primary attachment of the complainant's representative in the appeals proceeding.
The highest court dismissed the appeal of the General State Attorney's office concerning the acquittals as well as the establishment of the religious nature of Scientology and found that the conclusions of the Superior State Court about the religious nature of Scientology were well founded and let stand the contention in the appeal by the General State Attorney's office, since it had not recognized any logical or legal mistakes.
With that, the acknowledgment of the religious nature of the Scientology Church by the highest court in France has been verified. Now, according to the French Constitution and the European Human Rights Convention, Scientologists may freely proselytize and practice their religion without governmental restrictions.
The judgment also has significance for the criticism of the Scientology Church in Germany, because a one-time negative decision by the Lyon State Court from 1996 against Scientology continues to be distributed even today in official publications.
For the content and further information: Reinhard Egy
"MISSION INTERMINISTERIELLE DE LUTTE CONTRE LES SECTES"
Paris - July 1, 1999
Scientology could not be recognized as religion before the court
The "Mission Interministrielle de Lutte contre les Sectes" recognizes, with satisfaction, the judgment of the highest court of June 30, 1999.
First, the doubtful character of the support given the two Scientology "churches" in Lyon was strengthened by Mme. Gounord and Mssrs. Chapellet and Veau.
Secondly, the highest court limited itself to the finding that the investigation in the proceedings, which had excluded the above-mentioned persons from being condemned in the fraudulent affair committed by three Scientology management staff, could not serve as proof that they had not participated "through provocation or instructions in the planning or execution" of the mentioned fraudulent machination. The court explicitly mentioned that no actual immunity from punishment existed.
Third, the highest court indicated that it was not the mission of the court to decide upon the religious character of a group. The relevant passage of the Lyon court, which asserted in error that Scientology "was acknowledged as a religion," was thereby declared to be invalid.
French State Assembly decides in Scientologists' favor
December 8, 2000
Paris (dpa) - The French State Assembly, in a legal dispute between France and the Scientology organization, has awarded the organization compensation of 12,000 franks (4,000 marks). That was the decision reached on Friday in Paris by the highest French administrative court.
France had demanded a total of 48 million franks (14 million marks) tax payments from the Scientologists based on a 1996 law limiting capital trade. In March this year the European Court in Luxemburg decided that law did not conform to EU standards, and that decision was confirmed by the State Assembly with this judgment.