National Church of Scientology recognized in Spain

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Church of Scientology in Madrid.

On 31 October 2007 the National Court in Madrid issued a decision recognizing that the National Church of Scientology of Spain should be entered in the Registry of Religious Entities.

The administrative tribunal of Madrid's High Court ruled that a 2005 justice ministry decision to scrap the church from the register was "against the law." Responding to a petition filed by the church, the ruling said that no documents had been presented in court to demonstrate it was anything other than a religious entity.

"This recognition marks the end of an era in which Spanish Scientologists were forced to fight for their rights to religious freedom. It vindicates the Church of Scientology and is a new beginning for all Spanish Scientologists," said Ivan Arjona, spokesperson for the National Church of Scientology in Spain.

The National Court examined the Church's formative documents and aims and purposes to determine that the National Church of Scientology of Spain has the right to be registered as a religion under Spanish law.

Last April, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia had blocked Scientology from registering as a church in Moscow and ordered payment of 10,000 euros (13,000 dollars) in damages. In September, Belgium federal prosecutors announced that they had finished an investigation which would likely lead to charges against the Church of Scientology including blackmail, breaking privacy laws, unlawful practice of medicine, and formation of a criminal organisation.