Scientology seeking names of judges
by Marie Lemonnier
Le Nouvel Observateur, issue 2572, February 20, 2014, page 77
Scientologists demonstrating against "the stigmatization of religious movements"
L. Ron Hubbard's disciples are "convinced" that the reason French courts have repeatedly convicted them, as in October 2013 for "organized fraud," is that French judges are "biased." However, "You can't recuse a judge, based on a suspicion," admits Eric Roux, spokesman for the Church of Scientology's Celebrity Centre in Paris. As a result, "the octopus" is now trying to wrap its tentacles around the National Magistrates' School (Ecole nationale de la magistrature
- ENM), which has, for more than fifteen years, offered judges voluntary training sessions about the dangers of cults.
The Scientologists exhausted every available recourse before France's Commission for Access to Administrative Documents (Commission d'accès aux documents administratifs
- CADA) in the hope of obtaining not only all of ENM's course files and distributed materials on the subject of cults since 1998, but also the names of the trainers and of the judges who attended! The goal is clear: to compile a blacklist of judges that the Scientologists consider "tainted" for the purpose of invalidating these judges' decisions in cases involving the church.
"They also tried to attend our training sessions, but we refused; these courses are not public. They even gathered in front of the school, and we had to station a security officer," says Xavier Ronsin, director of the ENM. "But Scientology's allegations are pure fantasy; we are a secular republican school, not an anti-Church-of-Scientology indoctrination mill. No pressure group can impose its choices on us. One has to wonder why they feel so concerned about these courses!"
On December 23, 2013, for the first time, the Paris Administrative Court granted the Church of Scientology the right to obtain the course materials, but not the lists of names of speakers and participants because of privacy protection rules. Dissatisfied, "Scientology will now take the matter to the Council of State (Conseil d'Etat
)," said François Jacquot, the attorney for the Celebrity Centre. The standoff continues.