"Church of Scientology "indignant" over prosecutions in Belgium
December 29, 2012
The Federal Prosecutor's Office has decided to prosecute the Church of Scientology of Belgium as a "criminal organization." On Saturday, the American cult said it is "indignant."
The Belgian branch of the American cult and two of its top officials are also accused of fraud, the illegal practice of medicine, various violations of the privacy protection law, and extortion. On Saturday, the Church of Scientology of Belgium said it is "indignant" and asserted that it "[has] not received anything official from the prosecutor's office." "This is a new attack against freedom of religion, which, this time, is taking on the dimensions of an inquisition," added the spokeswoman for the Belgian Scientologists.
"This is not the first time that the media report accusations that concern us before we can be informed in advance. This goes completely against the presumption of innocence and the Declaration of Human Rights that Belgium has signed."
"Violation of the presumption of innocence"
The Church of Scientology of Belgium also wrote in a statement that it has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights for "violation of the presumption of innocence." The statement also emphasizes that Scientology is recognized as a religion in many countries and that the expansion of this new religious movement is a fact. "Our community today includes 7,500 churches, missions, and groups in 157 countries," declared the organization.
On Friday, various media reported that the prosecutor's investigation revolves mainly around the organization's internal practices. The starting point was a complaint from the regional employment services in Brussels concerning work contracts advertised by the "church" but designed for volunteers and members.