Belgium: Decision on whether to prosecute Scientology postponed

10-year investigation concluded the group should be labeled a criminal organization

Two years ago a Belgian prosecutor recommended that the U.S.-based Church of Scientology stand trial for fraud and extortion, following a 10-year investigation that concluded the group should be labeled a criminal organization.

The prosecutor stated that Scientology’s Brussels-based Europe office and its Belgian missions conducted unlawful practices in medicine, violated privacy laws and used illegal business contracts. The twelve people formally charged were also accussed of fraud, extortion, and forming a criminal organization.

At the time, Scientology responded by saying it would investigate prosecutor Jean-Claude Van Espen.

A Belgian court was to decide today whether the Church of Scientology will be prosecuted. However, the debate was postponed indefinitely when lawyers for accused filed nine requests for additional research.

A judge will evaluate each request to decide whether they are necessary. If he rejects the requests, Scientology’s lawyers can file an appeal.

- Belgium: Decision on whether to prosecute Scientology postponed, Religion News Blog, May 12, 2009
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