FaithWorld

New French law bars Scientology dissolution even if convicted

September 15, 2009

scientology

(Photo: Scientology members demonstrate against a 1999 fraud trial in Marseille. Their banner says:”Scientology: 40 years in France. A new religion that will always be there.”)

A new French law means the Church of Scientology cannot be dissolved in France even if it is convicted of fraud, it has emerged during a trial of the organisation.  A prosecutor has recommended that a Paris court dissolve the church’s French branch, which has been charged with fraud after complaints by former members who say they gave huge sums to the church for spiritual classes and “purification packs”.

The Church of Scientology’s French arm denies fraud.

Whatever the ruling, under a legislative reform passed just before the start of the trial in May, it is no longer possible to punish a fraudulent organisation with dissolution.  The legal snag was discovered by the Inter-ministerial Unit to Monitor and Fight Cults. Georges Fenech, head of the unit, demanded on Monday that the legal power to dissolve an organisation be reinstated.

Even if the law is changed again, it cannot be applied retroactively to the Scientology trial, which was held in May and June, with the ruling expected in late October. Registered as a religion in the United States, with celebrity members such as actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Scientology enjoys no such legal protection in France.

Read the full story here.

For more background on France’s case against Scientology, see

French prosecutor seeks dissolution of Scientology

Scientology on trial (photo essay)

Follow FaithWorld on Twitter at RTRFaithWorld

Comments
2 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

New laws aren’t discovered, they are crafted by specific individuals called lawmakers.

If the COS paid someone off to write a secret new law for “protection” for their crimes, that would be akin to a mob like protection racket. I would hope that the French Press isn’t too afraid of the COS to get to the heart of the matter.

It was just reported by the St. Petersburg Times that the COS is run by David Miscavige like Goodfellows, with wanton violence. Too bad France will now be force-fed this violent cult for all of enternity.

 

Just a correction: the U.S. does not “register” religions or officially recognize them in any other way as this would violate the constitution. The U.S. government only grants tax exempt status to religious organizations.

Posted by William Hood | Report as abusive
 

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/