in France is in danger of being dissolved.
French courts be setting a dangerous precedent?
Le Monde, France
Lawyer for Scientology
France Rails Against Injustice
"Such a harsh
indictment for people who haven't enriched themselves with even a cent of a
euro! … If the authorities believe that Scientology is a danger to public
order, well, these authorities should take up their responsibilities! Let
them say it. … Because this is about arbitrating the issue of religion."
-- Patrick Maisonneuve, lead
attorney for the Church of Scientology, France
By Yves Bordenave
Translated By Sandrine
June 18, 2009
- Le Monde - Original Article (French)
Patrick Maisonneuve, attorney for the Church of Scientology
association, is sure he's never seen anything like it. Before the Paris court,
which has been trying six member of Scientology and its bookstore for "organized
fraud" and "illegal use of pharmaceuticals" since May 25,
Maisonneuve said, "After thirty years of practice, this is the first time
that I've seen a request for acquittal pass to a pleading for capital
punishment." The Scientology bookstore and library is being tried as a
legal person in its own right.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Maisonneuve refers to the surprising request for dismissal by the
public prosecutor at the end of the court investigation The court dismissed the
request. In the United States a prosecutor would never had made such a request.
This has been interpreted by some to show that the Sarkozy government, for who
the prosecutors answer to, isn't
too happy about pursuing the case. French courts operate under the
Napoleonic Code rather than English common law, from which the U.S. derives its
Two days after the public prosecutor's office, represented
by Maud Coujard and Nicolas Baietto, sought the dissolution of Scientology's
organization in France, Maisonneuve and his clients yet to digest the "vehemence"
of the charges. "It surprised me," one of the attorneys said during
pleading. "Such a harsh indictment for people who haven't enriched
themselves with even a cent of a euro!," he exclaimed.
This high flyer of the Paris Bar who is used to handling major
cases, can find only one explanation: "The atmosphere … the pressure."
According to him, the trial was conducted in an atmosphere of "high
tension." In France, Scientology struggles with a sulfurous reputation. In
1995, a parliamentary commission put it among the ranks of the sects, denying
it the status of a Church which has been granted it in many countries.
Maisonneuve listed them. Besides the United States where the organization founded
in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard claims several million
adherents, he recalled that Portugal in 1998, Sweden in 2000, the province of
Quebec in 2006 and Spain in 2008, recognized Scientology as a Church.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Patrick Maisonneuve, attorney for the Church of
in France, says that in his thirty years on the Paris
he has never seen the government begin a trial by seeking
and end it seeking 'capital punishment.'
"If, in France, the
authorities believe that Scientology is a danger to public order, well, these
authorities should take up their responsibilities! Let them say it,"
thundered the attorney to the judges. "Let us not permit them to hide
behind judges." Because according to Maisonneuve, the authorities want the
court in Paris to do what they dare not do: ban Scientology.
"You won't do it. Because this is about arbitrating the issue of religion,"
recalling that under French law, there is no definition of religion. The Constitution
and the Declaration of Human Rights protect the freedom of citizens to practice
the faith of their choice. "The Republic shall respect all faiths,"
'THIS IS NO RELIGION'
For the defense attorney, the three weeks of hearings have
revealed no evidence to corroborate the allegations of fraud. As far as the ongoing
methods of scientologists?, asked Maisonneuve. "Those are from the 20th
century. There's nothing shocking there," he said cuttingly. "The fees
are high? Aren't they similarly high in other religions?, he asked. Maisonneuve
went on to inform me, "At the Consistory of Paris, the prices for a marriage ranged from 6,000
francs [$1250] to 31,000 francs [$6,500]." (in 1998-1999, at the time of
the alleged violations).
SEE ALSO ON THIS:
Le Figaro, France:
Lawyer for Scientology Attacks Position of France
Le Parisien, France:
'Damning Testimony' from Former Scientology Leader
Le Monde, France:
Scientology May Have a Friend in Sarkozy
Court May 'Dissolve' Scientology in France
Bild am Sonntag, Germany:
Scientology Seeks to 'Gain Power' in Germany
According to him, Aude-Claire
Malton, one of the complainants who suffered the most from her time with Scientology
- was never forced to pay any sum of money.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Aside from these complainants, Maisonneuve says he heard no
witnesses. Those cited by the civil party revealed no facts. Thus, in regard to
the testimony of Jean-Pierre Brard, a former member of the National Assembly
for the French Communist Party who testified before the court on June 8, Maisonneuve
said, "Brard is against all religions all the time. With Churchill, it was
no sports. With Brard, it is no religion," he joked ironically. And he
noted that since the beginning of the trial, no [Scientology] follower has sought
a refund. "We are being asked to dissolve. But I ask you to dissolve prejudices,
preconceived notions and attacks on freedom of expression," he concluded.
verdict is expected on October 27th.
CLICK HERE FOR FRENCH
[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US June 20, 6:49pm]