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FRANCE: Is State Secretary Sonia Backès a “Scientology survivor“? Her brother tells a different story

Is State Secretary Sonia Backès a “Scientology survivor“? Her brother tells a different story

She oversees the anti-cult mission MIVILUDES and tells a dramatic tale about her past. But her brother raises doubts about it.

By Massimo Introvigne

Bitter Winter (28.11.2022) – https://bit.ly/3ihM9aa – Sonia Backès is the new French State Secretary for Citizenship, and she has in her portfolio the MIVILUDES, the controversial Inter-Ministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combating Cultic Deviances (“dérives sectaires”: note that the French “secte” and its derivative words should be translated into English as “cult” and not as “sect”). She has also a dramatic story to tell, one French media love to report. She insists she is a “cult” survivor, who managed to escape at age 13 from what for the MIVILUDES is the quintessential “cult,” the Church of Scientology.

While we at Bitter Winter make no mystery of our criticism of the MIVILUDES and of the French governments’ attitude to “cults” (sectes)—which we believe puts freedom of religion or belief at serious risk—we also respect individual stories and feelings, including those of both Secretary Backès and her relatives who are still parishioners of Scientology. We also believe that the public deserves to hear both sides of controversial stories. Backès’ version “is easily available on several French media, including “Le Figaro,” the French “Huffington Post,” and “France Info,” where it is easy to hear her story from her own voice.

Bitter Winter presents an alternative narrative, and gives voice to Backès’ brother, a Scientologist. He is understandably angry about his sister’s criticism of their mother, who died last July. Our readers may compare the two versions of the story, and decide for themselves.

BW: Your sister Sonia Backès is now the State Secretary for Citizenship in France, under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and she has in her portfolio the MIVILUDES, the controversial “anti-cult” agency of the French government. She recently spoke publicly about having been raised by her mother, who was a Scientologist, and said that when she was 13, she escaped and went back to live with her father in New Caledonia, with the purpose of fleeing Scientology. How did you react?

“Actually, I was very upset. My mother died at the end of July, and just after that my sister gave an interview to the French newspaper ‘Le Figaro,’ where she told a story about my mother, and her pretended childhood in Scientology that I know is not true. The truth is that she never ‘escaped Scientology’ as she pretended in ‘Le Figaro’ and elsewhere. When she was 14, Sonia and I were living in Paris with our mother, and Sonia was nostalgic of her life in New Caledonia where she was born and had been raised in her early age. It was my mother, after discussing with her, who paid a flight ticket for my sister to go back to Noumea and live with her father.

My mother was indeed a Scientologist, and we have been raised by Scientologist parents who told us about their faith, as it happens in any religion. Then, like in any religion, some children will keep practicing and others will drift away from their church or from practicing. It happens to the Catholics, it happens to the Protestants, it happens to Muslims, to Jews, nothing weird here. Nonetheless, Sonia and our mother kept a very strong relationship for their whole life.

Of course, sometimes there could have been conflicts, as it often happens between parents and children, between mothers and daughters, but that should not become a reason for smearing the memory of your dead mother just after she passed away. My mother was a very brilliant woman, who always did everything she could to help and take care of her children. She deserves better. Sonia knows it, but it looks like her political career became somewhat more important than the truth.”

BW: It seems gross that a politician may attack her own mother for the sake of her career. Why should your sister invent a story that is not true?

“Well, a few days before she died, my mother showed and gave me a text message that Sonia had just sent to her. In the text message, Sonia was explaining that she was going to have MIVILUDES in her portfolio as a State Secretary, and that she was afraid that Mediapart (a French online newspaper specialized in investigating politicians and potential scandals) would discover that our mother was a Scientologist. As you know, MIVILUDES has always promoted the discrimination of Scientologists. Then, Sonia added that for this reason, she would have to say that she had left the family because of Scientology, to avoid a scandal.

My mother answered that, instead of inventing stories, she should tell the truth, which is that she always respected the religion of her family and was in fact respecting the freedom of religion of anyone, and that would have been it. The truth is that she never attacked the chosen religion of her mother, stepfather, and brother until she got a government position in relation with the MIVILUDES, where it is expected that she is a bigot.

Can you believe that she was creating a story that she had to leave her own mother because of Scientology, and in the next sentence of her text message, she was saying that they should see each other when they would have time? It seems to me that MIVILUDES insists that those associated with it attack new religions, and force them to separate from their family members who belong to a new religious movement. Isn’t this precisely the “cultic behavior” that they pretend to combat?

My mother was upset, and she would have liked to take it up in person with Sonia. But then she was admitted to the hospital, and died before being able to talk to Sonia further about it. I would have spoken to Sonia about it, but when my mother died Sonia was in New Caledonia, and after I went back to the US, I thought I would have time to speak with Sonia when I would have come back to Paris. But she went on spreading lies to several medias before I came back.

Nevertheless, I came to Paris recently, and asked Sonia if we could meet and have a coffee together. Indeed, since our mother passed away, we never had the opportunity to chat in person. She invented a fake professional obligation not to meet.”

BW: How do you remember your sister’s relations with Scientology?

“The truth is what my mother said. My sister never told me anything negative about Scientology. She knew that her family was doing well, that it was a Scientologist family, and she was of course OK with that. She was regularly having holidays with us. In fact, we had a wonderful time in Paris all together in April, Sonia, me, my mother and my father (Sonia’s stepfather). We are all Scientologists.

Then, when she had been appointed as a State Secretary in July, she invited my mother and my father Place Beauvau, at the Ministry of the Interior, to show them her new office. If she really had a problem with our religion as she pretends now, she would not have done it. The truth is that my mother has always taken care of her family, including Sonia. And Sonia knows that she was part of the family, that we were respecting and loving her, and before she became what she recently became, before she was forced by her commitment to MIVILUDES to lie and attack her own mother, she was respecting us and our beliefs, naturally.”

BW: Both Sonia and you were raised by Scientologist parents in your early age. Was your experience different from what Sonia told the media?

“Definitely. I have been raised by parents who were Scientologists, and in fact, I decided quite young to study Scientology by my own. In fact my parents, including my mother, never forced me to do anything. I love Scientology and, to the opposite of what is often said in some medias, I believe it gives more freedom, more ability to take your own decisions and more self-determination than anything else that I know of.

Every Scientologist I know would confirm it, and it’s a religion based on your own observation, your own ability to understand for yourself what is life, and how to be a better person. Today, I live in the US for professional reasons, I have a flourishing career and honestly, Scientology has been helpful for my whole life with no downside.”

BW: Well, definitely this is not Sonia’s discourse on Scientology now. You say it is proving difficult for you to meet her. But, if you would be able to meet, what exactly would you like to tell her?

“I would tell her that I understand that she could have a vision different than mine, that she could also have her own personal story with our mother, and that she has also to take a public position and deal with difficult image situations, but that none of these should be a sufficient reason to lie, and to choose what she thinks will help her political career over truth and family.

She knows that what she says is not true, and she should have told the MIVILUDES that everything they are saying about Scientology is a lie, because she knows it from her personal experience with her family. My personal opinion is that this story proves that those at the MIVILUDES are the ones breaking up families. And moreover, Sonia should respect the memory of our mother with integrity. Living with integrity and truth is more important than immediate political success.”

Photo 1: Secretary Sonia Backès with her brother in April 2022. Courtesy of Secretary Backès’s brother.

Photo 2: Secretary Backès with her mother and stepfather, April 2022. Courtesy of Secretary Backès’ brother.

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Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio.  From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.

Further reading about FORB in France on HRWF website

 





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GERMANY: A Federal Court confirms “sect filters” are illegal

Germany and “cults”: the Federal Administrative Court confirms “sect filters” are illegal

The federal judges ruled that the City of Munich cannot ask citizens to declare that they are not Scientologists to be eligible for certain benefits.

By Massimo Introvigne

 

Bitter Winter (09/04/2022) – https://bit.ly/3KQzJiT – Some readers of Bitter Winter may remember our coverage last year of a decision by the 4th Senate of the State Administrative Court of Appeal of Bavaria, overturning a first instance judgment by the Administrative Court of Munich on the issue of a “sect filter” used by the City of Munich.

”Sect filters” are bizarre documents required by local governments, businesses, and political parties in some areas of Germany. Those looking for a job, or for doing business with these institutions and companies, should sign a statement that they are not Scientologists nor do they “use the teachings/technology of L. Ron Hubbard” (the founder of Scientology).

The City of Munich subsidizes the use of electrical bikes called “pedelecs” for the purpose of environmental protection. A musician who happens to be a Scientologist applied to receive a grant for purchasing a pedelec on August 6, 2018. As part of her application, she was required to sign a “sect filter” declaring that “she will not apply, teach, or otherwise disseminate any of the contents or methods or technology of L. Ron Hubbard and that she will not attend any courses or seminars based on this technology.” She refused, and on December 12, 2018, the City of Munich rejected her application.

She sued the city, but on August 28, 2019, the Administrative Court of Munich found against her, stating that the city was “free to decide which group of persons is to be supported by voluntary financial contributions,” and exclude Scientologists and supporters of L. Ron Hubbard.

The musician appealed, and the State Administrative Court of Appeal decided on June 16, 2021, with reasons communicated on August 3, 2021, that the city’s decision “is unlawful and violates the plaintiff’s rights.” Imposing a “sect filter” before granting electromobility funding violates the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and the constitutional principle of equality before the law, which requires that citizens should not be subject to disadvantages by reason of one’s race, origin, language, belief or religious or philosophical conviction, the court concluded. The judges noted that the city had admitted that, apart from the “sect filter” issue, the musician’s application met the legal requirements and would have been granted. Accordingly, the application of a “sect filter” amounted to unconstitutional religious discrimination.

On April 6, the Federal Administrative Court concurred and ordered the city of Munich to issue the required subsidy approval. It noted that there are three reasons to declare the use of the “sect filter” in this case as unlawful.

First, the subsidy of a municipality must not be made dependent on a sect filter. Art. 28 of the German Constitution related to the self-government rights of a municipality does not entitle it to demand a declaration on the belief of a person.

Second, requesting such a declaration and denying a subsidy if it is refused violates freedom of religion or belief and the freedom of religious practice, both of which are protected by Art. 4 of the German Constitution. Such practices are unconstitutional.

Third, the sect filter practice violates the principle of equal treatment before the law of all citizens, as the involved criteria for persons qualified to receive a subsidy are improper and inappropriate.

Although the case was not about “sect filters” in general, the court’s view seems to indicate that in the absence of a proper law, demanding a declaration of a person’s belief is unconstitutional per se. This outcome certainly encourages Scientologists and all citizens jealous of their human rights to refuse to sign these obnoxious documents. As such, the decision is a victory for religious liberty, and should persuade Germany that there is no room for “sect filters” in a democratic country that is based on human rights.

Photo: The Federal Administrative Court, Leipzig. Credits.

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Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio.  From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.

Further reading about FORB in Germany on HRWF website





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RUSSIA sanctioned by the European Court for detaining a Scientologist

Russia sanctioned for detaining a Scientologist

The European Court of Human Rights’ Kuropyatnik decision is a clear message to Russian authorities: stop persecuting Scientology.

By Massimo Introvigne

Bitter Winter (10.10.2021) – https://bit.ly/3lqyug6 – There is nothing new when Russia loses freedom of religion or belief (FORB) cases at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, and there is unfortunately also nothing new when it ignores the decisions and goes on with its anti-FORB policies, Just ask the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

However, there is something new in Kuropyatnik v. Russia, a case decided on September 28, 2021, and now widely commented by legal scholars. Against a vigorous but ultimately unsuccessful defense by Russian representatives, the ECHR stated that the detention of a Scientologist for the mere fact of being active in his religion was unlawful.

On October 13, 2010, Vladimir Leonidovich Kuropyatnik, at that time well-known as a Scientologist, took a flight back from Khanty-Mansiysk, in Western Siberia, to Moscow. When he landed at Vuknovo Airport, he was intercepted and taken to the local police station for questioning. There, he was interrogated for more than one hour about his activities in the Church of Scientology.

Kuropyatnik learned that his name had been included in the “Surveillance Database” (Сторожевой контроль), a police database used to track movements across Russia of individuals allegedly involved in “extremist” activities. Whenever a person included in the database purchases a train or plane ticket, the police is notified. Scientology’s material was, and is, considered “extremist” in Russia, a country that has been repeatedly censored internationally for its cavalier use of the label “extremism” and for “inventing extremists” to discriminate against religious minorities.

Kuropyatnik believed that his detention had been unlawful, and filed a complaint with the Solntsevskiy District Court in Moscow. The complaint was dismissed by the District Court on March 2, 2011, and the decision was upheld by the Moscow City Court. The judges concluded that the police had acted in accordance with the law, and that Kuropyatnik had followed the police officers voluntarily.

Kuropyatnik then challenged his inclusion in the Surveillance Database, and again his case was dismissed by the Moscow City Court on September 16, 2011, on the ground that the issue had been solved in the meantime by deleting his name from the database. Although Kuropyatnik had sought a decision that registering him in the database had been illegal when it was done, the Supreme Court of Russia upheld the decision on December 7, 2011.

Kuropyatnik then moved to submit the case to the ECHR. In contrast to Russian courts, which produced four judgements in one year, the ECHR took nine years to come to a decision, which is usual in Strasbourg but sometimes makes its rulings less effective. At any rate, it found in favor of Kuropyatnik.

Here, we find something new. The objection by Russia that Kuropyatnik had not been detained but had voluntarily followed the police officers was quickly dismissed. The ECHR noted that Article 19.3 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences makes declining an invitation by a police officer to go to a police station for questioning a crime punishable with both administrative fines and administrative detention. Clearly, Kuropyatnik was not free to refuse the “invitation,” and although not technically “arrested,” he was “detained.”

Was this detention unlawful? Yes, the ECHR answered in the most interesting part of the decision. Russia’s defense was based on two arguments. First, that including Kuropyatnik’s name in the Surveillance Database was justified by reasons of national security, on which the ECHR cannot second-guess the national authorities. Second, that there was no violation of freedom of religion because Scientology is not a religion and therefore is not protected by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

ECHR stated that how national security is protected finds a limit in articles 5 (right to liberty and security) and article 8 (respect for private and family life) of the European Convention of Human Rights. National security concerns cannot become a pretext to limit the liberty and violate the privacy of citizens who have not committed any crime, based only on their religious beliefs.

On the argument advanced by Russia that Scientology “is not a religion” the ECHR told Russia that it cannot have its cake and eat it too. At least until 2017, the ECHR observed, Russian courts and administrative authorities have consistently maintained that Scientology is a religion. In some cases, they did so to use against Scientology provisions against “religious extremism” that had been introduced to crack down on Islamic ultra-fundamentalism after both 9/11 and terrorist attacks on Russian soil.

The ECHR observed that Russia cannot at the same time call Scientology an “extremist religion” when it suits its purposes, noting that “the Russian authorities had repeatedly referred to Scientology as a religion to justify the imposition of restrictions on the Church of Scientology and its members,” and claim that it is not a religion to exclude it from the protection granted by article 9 of the Convention. The ECHR also referred to its own previous decisions on Russian cases involving Scientology, where it had stated that Scientology is indeed a religion.

The ECHR awarded Kuropyatnik EUR 5,000 in respect of non‑pecuniary damages, and EUR 3,000 in respect of costs and expenses, plus taxes and interests.

More importantly, it sent Russia a clear message that the persecution and discrimination against the Church of Scientology should be stopped. While precedents involving the Jehovah’s Witnesses would support skepticism, one can only hope that Russia will hear the ECHR and understand that the persecution of Scientology is firmly condemned by the international community.

The message is for other countries, too. Registering a Scientologist (or a member of any other religion) in a police database, overtly or secretly, is discriminatory and illegal. It cannot be done without violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

Photo : Vladimir Kuropyatnik at a Scientology function in 2016. Source: Scientology Newsroom.

Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio.  From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.

Further reading about FORB in Russia on HRWF website





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GERMANY: A Bavarian court of appeal rules that the “sect filter” is illegal

The Bavarian State Administrative Court of Appeal rules that applying the “sect filter” is illegal

A musician refused to submit the requested “protective declaration” that she does not “use the technology” or attend courses of Scientology. She was right, the court said.

By Massimo Introvigne

Bitter Winter (07.08.2021) – https://bit.ly/37OqZYG – A historical decision was rendered by the 4th Senate of the State Administrative Court of Appeal of Bavaria, with reasons communicated on August 3, 2021, overturning a first instance judgment by the Administrative Court of Munich dated August 28, 2019, on the controversial issue of a “sect filter” used by the City of Munich. ”Sect filters” are documents required by local governments, businesses and political parties in some areas of Germany. Anybody looking for a job, or for doing business with these institutions and companies, should sign a statement that s/he is not a Scientologist nor does s/he “use the technology of L. Ron Hubbard” (the founder of Scientology).

The City of Munich subsidizes electromobility, and the use of electrical vehicles, including electrical bikes called “pedelecs” for the purpose of environmental protection. A musician applied to receive a grant for purchasing a pedelec on August 6, 2018. As part of her application she was required to sign a “sect filter” declaring that “she will not apply, teach, or otherwise disseminate any of the contents or methods or technology of L. Ron Hubbard and that she will not attend any courses or seminars based on this technology.” She refused, and on December 12, 2019, the City of Munich rejected her application.

She sued the city, but on August 28, 2019, the Administrative Court of Munich found against her, stating that the city was “free to decide which group of persons is to be supported by voluntary financial contributions,” and exclude citizens supporting Scientology, based on the fact that “in the 2018 Bavarian Report on the Protection of the Constitution, the program and activities of the Scientology organization were declared incompatible with the fundamental principles of the free democratic basic order.” The first instance court noted that, notwithstanding this evaluation, the musician still had a right to attend courses of Scientology, as she did for forty years, based on general principles of freedom of opinion and religion, but she had no right to get the electromobility subsidy. The city also suspected that the woman might use the pedelec for missionary activities on behalf of the Church of Scientology, which the city does not want to support.

The musician appealed, noting that she had clearly stated that she “is a freelance musician and plays mainly in classical orchestras; she wants to use the pedelec to get to rehearsals and performances.” She never performed missionary activities on behalf of Scientology, and considered the claim that she would need a bike for such purposes as absurd. She also questioned the accuracy of the assessment of the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution, based on her long experience as a Scientologist. And she claimed that the wording of the “sect filter” is “vague and excessive,” as it refers to any and all “contents” and “methods” L. Ron Hubbard may have taught in thousands of pages of works, and to any and all courses and seminars based on Hubbard’s ideas, which deal with a wide variety of fields. Also, the “sect filter” requires those who sign it to disclose their religious adherence and belief, which is prohibited by both the German Constitution and international human rights law.

The city objected that a freelance musician is not a private individual but, since she bills for her services, she is a “business” or a “company,” and since 1996 the Bavarian State Government had announced that they regard any business run by a Scientologist as “run according to the technology of L. Ron Hubbard” and thus “a component of the overall Scientology organization.” That this applied to the activity of the musician  was denied by the Bavarian State Administrative Court.

The  Administrative Court of Appeal concluded that the city’s decision “is unlawful and violates the plaintiff’s rights.” Imposing a “sect filter” before granting electromobility funding violates the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom and the constitutional principle of equality before the law, which requires that citizens should not be subject to disadvantages by reason of one’s race, origin, language, belief or religious or philosophical conviction, the court concluded.

Read the full article here

Photo: “No support for buying a pedelec (above) if you don’t renounce Scientology,” the City of Munich said.

Massimo Introvigne (born June 14, 1955 in Rome) is an Italian sociologist of religions. He is the founder and managing director of the Center for Studies on New Religions (CESNUR), an international network of scholars who study new religious movements. Introvigne is the author of some 70 books and more than 100 articles in the field of sociology of religion. He was the main author of the Enciclopedia delle religioni in Italia (Encyclopedia of Religions in Italy). He is a member of the editorial board for the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion and of the executive board of University of California Press’ Nova Religio.  From January 5 to December 31, 2011, he has served as the “Representative on combating racism, xenophobia and discrimination, with a special focus on discrimination against Christians and members of other religions” of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). From 2012 to 2015 he served as chairperson of the Observatory of Religious Liberty, instituted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to monitor problems of religious liberty on a worldwide scale.

Further reading about FORB in Germany on HRWF website





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GERMANY: State of Baden-Württemberg loses in court against a Scientologist

Scientology membership does not forward anti-constitutional endeavours – scientologists follow the law.

EUtoday ( 16.04.2021)- https://bit.ly/3ts9k2g – The State Administrative Court of Appeal for Baden-Württemberg dismissed the State´s appeal against a positive judgement won by a Scientologist before the Stuttgart Administrative Court.

The statements in the above headline follow from two court decisions in Baden-Württemberg: a judgement by the Administrative Court Stuttgart of 02.06.2020 (file no. 3 K 6690/19) and a recent decision of the State Administrative Court of Appeal for Baden-Württemberg of 04.03.2021 (file no. VGH 8 S 1886/20) which had dismissed the application of the state to grant their motion for leave to appeal.

The state, represented by the State Air Traffic Security Agency, had been tipped off by the State Office for Protection of the Constitution about the Scientology membership of the plaintiff. The agency subsequently adjudicated the Scientologist “unreliable” basing this solely on his long-term religious membership, insinuating that he would thereby pursue illegitimate purposes. Consequently, despite his impeccable conduct, the Scientologist was prohibited from entering the security areas of any German airport. The exercise of his profession in his specialist airport related activities as an electrical engineer had factually become impossible, even though because of his professional skills, he had contributed to the security of airports across Germany and Europe in a very responsible fashion for decades.

Pointing to the Supreme Administrative Court case law on the security of air traffic, the first instance Administrative Court in Stuttgart had already confirmed the following to be factual with regards to the Scientologist: “That the individual conduct of the plaintiff was directed in any way towards the use of violence or that the result of his conduct was directed … to materially damage the protection of the free and democratic basic order, the existence and the security of the Federation and the States, is not evident.

The plaintiff had credibly demonstrated to the Court, that – just like for any other Scientologist – his membership in Scientology is solely about his spiritual development as a human being. The Stuttgart Administrative Court therefore concluded, that from his Scientology membership, “no factual indicators are evident that the plaintiff pursues or supports or has pursued or supported any anti-constitutional endeavours in the meaning of … the Federal Law on the Office for Protection of the Constitution during the last ten years.”

That the Church of Scientology and their members respect the fundamental principles of the liberal-democracy as protected in the above law, not only follows from the legal obligations in the corporate statutes of the Church but also, inter alia, from the Church´s and its members´ worldwide commitment to human rights as has been evident throughout the past decades.

The State Administrative Court of Appeal has now confirmed the above judgement as final. The blanket insinuation in the agency´s appeal that the plaintiff, by reason of his Scientology membership, would “not constantly be willing to respect the legal order” was rightfully rejected by the Appeal Court with the words: “That this can generally be presumed for members of Scientology, is not evident.” As required by the Church of Scientology from all its members, the plaintiff had always respected the law as evident from his impeccable conduct. The Appeal Court also came to the same conclusion as the first instance court with regards to the agency´s second absurd insinuation against the plaintiff and the Church alleging there was “willingness to use violence”. The Appeal Court also set the record straight on this point stating there is “nothing evident” to that effect, “neither for the plaintiff himself nor for the Scientology Organisation.”

Eric Roux, Vice President of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, commented: “The above court findings have rightfully confirmed that the Church and its members are law abiding. They show that the past discriminatory pillorying against the Church and its membership in Germany by certain state security agencies are nothing but blatant human rights violations. The time is well past that such agencies must be subject to international human rights law standards as provided for in guarantees of international treaties of the UN, the OSCE and the EU Human Rights Convention so that they act to protect what they were established for and not to make a Swiss cheese out of the human rights principles that they were meant to protect in the first place.”

Download Court Judgement.

 

Photo: Eutoday

 

 


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