The Church of Scientology in France has once again come under the legal (and media) spotlight. Although no stranger to controversy, Scientology appears to be the subject of a growing number of legal challenges in the French courts. Together with the ongoing “organised fraud” prosecutions, other serious allegations include kidnap, assault, extortion and blackmail.
In The Guardian, Angelique Chrisafis talks to some of the individuals who claim to have been damaged by Scientology. These include Gwen Le Berre whose mother committed suicide whilst a longstanding member of the church and Martine Boublil who claims to have been kidnapped by her Scientologist brother in an attempt to ‘treat her psychological problems’.
The Church of Scientology has denied all of the allegations thus far, and has protested against what it perceives as ‘a “climate of hatred” and a state-sponsored “inquisition” against them in France.’ The trial for “organised fraud” is expected to continue until October, although, the prosecution have already laid down their expectations in the event of a guilty verdict. These include the closure of a book shop, the Celebrity Centre and the two main Scientology buildings in Paris.
Secrecy and New Religious Movements: Concealment, Surveillance, and Privacy in a New Age of Information
By Hugh B. Urban
(Vol. 2, November 2007)
From Exotics to Brainwashers: Portraying New Religions in Mass Media
By Sean McCloud
(Vol. 1, August 2006)
Church of Scientology
From A New Dictionary of Religions