Olivier Schmidt / Intelligence - Association for the Right to Information, France - The Belgian Justice Ministry is preparing to take on the Church of Scientology (CS) in a legal struggle which could seriously damage the organization's "presence" in the European Union. On 4 September, state prosecutor Jean-Claud Van Espen recommended that the CS should stand trial for fraud, extortion, illegal business practices, unlawful medical practices, and breaches of the country's privacy laws.
These accusations are the result of a ten-year investigation which concluded that the organization should be regarded as a criminal organization, using religion as a cover for criminal practices. Germany arrived at a similar conclusion several years ago.
Twelve senior members of the CS European office, on Wetstraat in Brussels, will be indicted if the trial goes ahead, a decision to be taken by a panel of senior Appeal Court judges currently considering the evidence.