Scientology could be banned from the country of Belgium if senior members are found guilty of a variety of charges, including, extortion, fraud, running a criminal organization and violating privacy. The claims being waged against 11 senior Scientology officials and two affiliated organizations stem from two separate investigations into the controversial religious organization that have unfolded over the past 18 years. Complaints from former members’ led to an investigation in 1997, with a subsequent inquiry in 2008 exploring allegations that fake jobs were being offered in Belgium in an effort to convert people to the faith, the Huffington Post reported.
The trial, which began on Monday, will reportedly last for about a month, though a spokesperson for the religious group expressed confidence that officials would be cleared of all charges. “The Church of Scientology goes to court with the firm intention of seeing the fundamental rights of its Belgian members finally recognized,” the official said last Friday. “Not only does the church contest the charges against it, which affect the fundamental rights of all Scientologists, it also intends to denounce the serious judicial abuses against it of the past 18 years.” FULL REPORT