Authorities in Belgium raid Church of Scientology
Saturday, April 12, 2008
According to reports, authorities in Belgium have seized documents, financial records and computer equipment from the local branch of the Church of Scientology (Church) and then sealed off the building.
The reports state that the Church in Belgium is being investigated for extortion and fraud for allegedly posting false job openings in newspapers and then attempting to get those who applied to join the Church. Several ex-members of the Church have also reportedly approached authorities with accusations of intimidation and extortion.
Police in Belgium have been investigating the Church for nearly ten years which resulted in the raid on Thursday.
In a statement to the press, the Church says that the police "violated their fundamental rights" as a religious organization and accused the police of "malicious justice operations." The Church plans to contest any charges filed against it. They also state that the postings were requests for volunteers and not employees.
So far no arrests have been made, but some employees of the Church were detained and questioned by police.
The building remains closed as of publication.
- "Scientology protest group celebrates founder's birthday worldwide" — Wikinews, March 15, 2008
- "Belgian justice prosecutes Scientology" — Wikinews, September 4, 2007
- "Police search Scientology HQ" — Flanders news, April 12, 2008
- Agence France-Presse. "Perquisition au siège de l'Eglise de scientologie en Belgique" — Le Monde, April 11, 2008 (French)
- "Huiszoeking op hoofdzetel van Scientology Kerk" — De Standaard, April 11, 2008 (Dutch)
- "Onderzoek tegen Scientology" — Vlaamse Televisie Maatschappij, April 11, 2008 (Dutch)
- KCAL-TV. "Belgium: Scientology Charged with Fraud & Extortion" — YouTube, April 6, 2008 (Video)