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15 Scientologists cleared of charges

Decision: Accusation of forming criminal association not proven.

Madrid, Spain

December 3, 2001

(APA/dpa) - In the first big trial against adherents of the Scientology organization in Spain, the 15 defendants were let go.

The court decided on Monday in Madrid that it had not been proven that the defendants had formed a criminal association. As to the the other specifications - such as the accusations of brainwashing or tax evasion, it was said there was no proof. The state attorney had demanded from three months to five years for the defendants, as well as the dissolution of the organization.

The letter of indictment had described Scientology as an "extremely dangerous organization" that was "more of a sect than a church."

Nevertheless, the court decided there was no evidence that the defendants had joined together for the purpose of committing criminal acts. The state attorney's office had originally wanted the organization's boss, Heber Jentzsch, to appear in court, and had asked 56 years for him. The American did not however show up in court because the US authorities had not forwarded the summons to him.


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