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Scientology got another legal spanking in France months ago and we’re just now finding out

Jonny Jacobsen

Jonny Jacobsen

Remember when Scientology’s fraud conviction in France was upheld by that country’s highest court just over a year ago? Our man in Paris, Jonny Jacobsen, worked feverishly that day to bring us several dispatches about it.

Jonny had been covering the fraud prosecution for years, and he helped us understand just how important it was that the Cour de Cassation upheld the 2009 convictions. As one French legislator explained to him, another conviction could result in Scientology getting kicked out of the country.

Scientology’s attorneys, meanwhile, announced that they would be taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, where they would complain that they didn’t receive justice from France’s courts.

Well, we have news about that. It turns out, the European Court of Human Rights rejected Scientology’s petition months ago. Here, we’ll let Jonny explain it himself…

I just checked with the European Court of Human Rights about Scientology’s bid to take France to task over the 2009 convictions for organised fraud.

Here’s the response I got back from the ECHR press unit today on Rosenberg and Jacquart v. France.


“The application in question was declared inadmissible on 5 June 2014 by a Single-Judge formation.”

According to the court’s rules, a single judge can sit to consider an application “where inadmissibility is clear from the outset,” they explained.

In other words, the application was such a non-starter the court did not even consider it necessary to gather a full bench to reject it.

And there’s no appeal.

“Being a Single-Judge decision, there is no decision available but only the letter that was sent to the applicants to inform them of this decision,” they explained.

You will recall that in October last year France’s top court, the Cour de Cassation, rejected Scientology’s final bid to have the convictions quashed (they had already been confirmed on appeal in 2012).

The reason that was a big deal of course is that, unlike previous Scientology convictions in France — and there have been a few — this time the organisation itself was found guilty, not just a few key members.

When the Cour de Cassation handed down its ruling last year, Scientology made it clear they would take the case to the Strasbourg court. They even described the Paris setback as an opportunity.

Now, they said, they could take the case to an international jurisdiction to get the fair hearing they insisted they were denied in France.

Well, they got their ruling over the summer — and now there is no escaping the fact of those French convictions.

They also have to face up to the fact that if they are convicted as an organisation for a second time, they could, under French law, face dissolution.

How that would work in practice of course, is another story.

— Jonny Jacobsen


Posted by Tony Ortega on October 24, 2014 at 17:30

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