Lengthy imprisonment threatens Scientologists

Monster charges against 18 Scientologists: its President faces 30 years in prison in Spain

Tages-Anzeiger, March 1, 1999
By Hugo Stamm

After years of investigation, the Madrid state attorney's office has held out for a strike against Scientology. The office has charged 18 leading members of the pseudo-church, reported the Spanish daily newspaper, "El Pais." 30 years in prison was demanded for Heber Jentzsch, the international President of the organization.

"Extremely dangerous"

The indictment described Scientology as extremely dangerous. The members are said to be financially exploited and subjected to brainwashing. The twelve charges range from tax evasion to the formation of an illegal organization. The Scientologists promise cures without possessing the proper education or permits.

The District Attorney even rates using the personality test for the recruitment of new customers as criminal. This uses the 200 questions which the Scientologists also use in Switzerland in order to attract new members. The person being tested is then told that he has (fictitious) psychic problems, which can be corrected with expensive courses and therapies, stated the District Attorney. The reality is that many people tested become psychically ill only after having taken the "therapy." The charges state that a diabetic was talked into believing that his illness was caused by psychic illness, and that it could be healed with Scientology courses. The patient later fell into a diabetic coma.

Five Hours in the Sauna

The charges also include the Scientology co-organization of Narconon, which offers controversial therapy for drug addicts. This therapy includes daily sessions of up to five hours in the sauna and mega-doses of medications. The Scientology therapy center lacks any professional medical or psychological care, said the District Attorney. In addition, disobedient Scientologists were said to be locked up for days at a time. The legal proceedings are to begin June 1 and last several months.

The Swiss Scientology spokesman, Juerg Stettler, did not want to take a position on the charges in Spain. Stettler said it was just another campaign of non-stop accusations which lacked any basis.

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