Church of Scientology to be prosecuted?
deredaktie.be - 11/05/2009
A Belgian court will decide on Tuesday whether the Church of Scientology will be prosecuted. Two years ago Belgian public prosecutors stated that the Church is a criminal organisation.
The prosecution, if it happens, will be a world first.
In September 2007 detectives completed an investigation into the Church of Scientology. The activities of the organisation during the past twelve years came under scrutiny.
Their verdict was not a flattering one.
The public prosecutor's office claimed that the organisation was involved in fraud, blackmail of members and illegal medical practises.
Earlier the Belgian Parliament put the Church of Scientology on its list of sects. Abroad the church has been recognised as a religion.
The Church of Scientology is eager to defend its position. In the past it took the Belgian state to court on several occasions.
If the matter comes to court now, a procedural battle is on the cards.
Lafayette Ron Hubbard founded the Church of Scientology in 1954. Under its teachings each individual is an immortal soul.
The organisation claims thousands of members in Belgium, though there is little evidence of this.
It is particularly popular in the US.
The actors John Travola and Tom Cruise are among its more famous followers.