Scientology Crime Syndicate

AP Sept. 21, 1999

French Court Hears Scientologists

.c The Associated Press

MARSEILLE, France (AP) - A French court began hearing testimony Tuesday from seven members of the Church of Scientology accused of fraud, after rejecting the defense's second call to postpone the proceedings.

The case has put the controversial Church of Scientology back in the spotlight while it struggles to win recognition as a legitimate religion in Europe. The case also has whipped up fury among Scientology leaders, one of whom said Monday he would denounce France to the U.N. Human Rights Commission for threatening the rights of minority religions to a fair trial.


The case originally was lodged by a former member of the church, and on Monday a second man came forward as a civil party.


The French trial already has been tainted by scandal after documents relating to the case disappeared from the Marseille court two weeks ago. An official inquiry blamed a court clerk.


The Marseille trial was due to continue Wednesday.

Copyright 1999 The Associated Press.


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