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Jonny JacobsenBrussels

Prosecutor sick: Belgian Scientology trial delayed
Belgium’s trial of Scientology has been delayed after the prosecutor who has followed the case for nearly two decades fell ill.

Belgium’s trial of the Church of Scientology and a dozen of its members has been interrupted for two weeks after the prosecutor in charge of the case was taken ill.

News of Christophe Caliman’s illness came the same day a Scientology group announced it had filed a complaint against him with a UN body for “egregious” human rights violations.

Caliman was not present when the trial resumed Monday morning after a week-long break. Prosecutor Jean-Pascal Thoreau told the court that his colleague had been taken ill. At the start of the afternoon’s proceedings he said that Caliman would be on sick leave until Friday, November 20 and asked for the prosecutor’s closing arguments to be postponed.

Caliman had originally been scheduled to present his much-awaited closing argument on Tuesday. Since the prosecution case is that the Church of Scientology Belgium is a criminal organisation, observers have been waiting to see if he would call for its dissolution. Another Scientology organisation, the Brussels-based European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights is also on trial.

Judge Yves Régimont, after consulting with the lawyers, pushed back the schedule: the prosecutor’s closing arguments are now set for Tuesday, November 24, with defence arguments starting on November 30.

If, on November 24, Caliman is not able to present his arguments, his colleague Thoreau will have to step in. He made it clear Monday that this arrangement would be far from ideal. His presence at the trial was more to provide technical support to his colleague, he explained.

Caliman has a detailed knowledge of what has become a massive case file incorporating two separate investigations. He has worked on it for nearly two decades and in court has taken the lead in questioning the defendants.

Thoreau, though an experienced prosecutor in his own right, would be at a distinct disadvantage if he had to take over. But as Judge Régimont made clear, the other commitments of the defence lawyers and the three judges would make it very difficult to change the trial calendar any further.

News of prosecutor Caliman’s illness came the same day that a Scientology group announced it had lodged a complaint against him with the UN Special Rapporteur for International Religious Freedom.

The Scientologists Alliance for Freedom in Europe (SAFE) did not name M. Caliman in its complaint. But it denounced the prosecutor in charge of the case for having “…initiated an intrusive, 18 year-old investigation into sincerely held Scientology religious beliefs and peaceful religious practices targeting Scientologists and the Scientology religious community.”

From Spain, SAFE spokesman Ivan Arjona said in the statement: “I live in a country where Scientology is recognized as a religion by the State, and where the rights of Scientologists are protected as they are in most European countries that respect religious freedom as part of our common heritage.

“Yet, the prosecutor has trampled on the rights of Scientologists in Belgium to religious freedom for over two decades, requiring Scientologists everywhere to stand up for their rights and protest religious persecution.”

They were asking the Special Rapporteur to monitor the trial and to take up their complaint with the Belgian government, he added.

SAFE describes itself as “a grassroots initiative by Scientologists from all over Europe” whose aim it to promote human rights, particularly in the field of religious freedom.

The Belgian trial of Scientology opened on October 26 and has so far run for five days. The defendants deny charges of fraud; extortion; criminal organisation; forgery and the use of false documents; violation of privacy; and the illegal practice of medicine.

Under the revised schedule, the defence will start its closing arguments on November 30. Given that there are 12 individuals and two organisations on trial, they will run over eight days until December 11.

The prosecutor has had health problems before. In September 2010 Caliban was taken ill during a trial and had to be hospitalised.

See here for a complete list of the coverage so far.

#Belgium, #Scientology, #trial, #Christophe Caliman, #SAFE, #Jean-Pascal Thoreau, #Ivan Arjona, #OHCHR, #rights

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Scientology trial: “I never made anyone work for Church of Scientology”

Monday, 09 November 2015 17:31

Scientology trial: “I never made anyone work for Church of Scientology”©Belga

Jeannine V., former Director of the Church of Scientology in Belgium and a defendant in the trial, told Brussels’ criminal court on Monday that no-one was forced to work for the Church.She is accused of advertising phoney job openings in 2007 and 2008.

The prosecution alleges these ads did not reveal there was a link with the Church of Scientology and that the ‘jobs’ offered were voluntary positions.

Yves Régimont , the President of the 69th Chamber of the criminal court in Brussels, began his examination on the “Actiris” aspect of the case, dealing with the Belgian Scientology non-profit and 2 of its members, Myriam Z. and Jeannine V., on Monday.

Jeannine V. was Director of the Church when the job openings were advertised in the free local papers Vlan and Passe-partout amongst others, in 2007 and 2008. “The people who came did not know the ads had been placed by the Church of Scientology. They thought there were administrative jobs which did not in fact exist, and they were promised a salary which was non-existent; and then they were not allowed to leave,” said the President.

The defendant refuted these allegations. “They could see they were at the Church as soon as they arrived, and they were then well informed. Those who did not wish to stay were allowed to leave. I for one never prevented anyone from leaving if that was what they wanted to do,” she said.

Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)

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Was ‘Access Hollywood’ really sitting on a manic Tom Cruise interview for ten years?

How can we forget 2005? That was the year that Tom Cruise changed everything. Until then, the media here in the US was under a serious chill following the $416 million lawsuit against TIME magazine for its 1991 cover story on Scientology. (The lawsuit was dismissed, but not before TIME spent about $6 to $8 million defending itself.) Cruise’s handlers made sure no one asked him about Scientology. But then, after Cruise became super gung-ho in 2004, he fired his longtime publicist, hired his sister, and in 2005 went out to talk openly about Scientology. He also jumped on Oprah’s couch about his love for Katie Holmes, and we all got to see Tom, the crazed Scientologist, in his interview with Matt Lauer. Since it was Tom bringing up Scientology, it opened a flood of media coverage that only became more of an inundation after Tom’s infamous “black turtleneck” video showed up in 2008 and then his split with Katie Holmes happened in 2012.

And once again, a focus on Tom Cruise has created another tidal wave of publicity as Leah Remini exposes Cruise in her new memoir, Troublemaker. So it’s only now that Access Hollywood reveals that it recorded a manic interview of Cruise back in 2005 which mirrors, in a lot of ways, his crazy encounter with Matt Lauer? Really?

A memory comes back to us. When the Leah Remini/LAPD story broke in the summer of 2013, we spent a day being interviewed by various programs, including our one and only appearance on Access Hollywood. We’ll never forget that before we were put in front of a camera, we were interviewed by a woman at the program who put us through an interesting barrage of questions. “I’ve personally interviewed Tom Cruise,” she said, “And I don’t understand why his religion should be a story.” Oh, we handled that one just fine. We explained that the controversies of Scientology have nothing to do with “religion,” and that any group that splits up families, forces young women to have abortions, and otherwise terrorizes its own members with the prospect of expensive interrogations needs to be kept an eye on. Especially when it was using celebrities to forward its agenda. You should have seen her jaw drop open. “I had no idea,” she said at the end of that pre-interview. They then put your proprietor in front of a camera, and for half an hour after that segment was filmed, the crew sat around and peppered us with more questions. Clearly, the folks at Access Hollywood were a sheltered bunch.

When we saw the segment, we remember the correspondent saying something to host Billy Bush about his having done a big interview with Tom about Scientology. And remember, this was in 2013. But had they held back the best parts of that 2005 interview? Was Access Hollywood protecting Tom during that fateful manic period? We’re hoping someone with a better institutional memory of Access Hollywood can help us out. Is the program sitting on even better footage of Tom going off the rails back in 2005? Maybe someone there can leak it to us? Pretty please?

Anyway, here’s what they aired yesterday, and it’s so annoying the way they’ve chopped it up. Just show us the 2005 interview already. Or maybe they did back in the day, and they’re just fibbing that it’s never been seen before? We really don’t know. But the idea that a crazed Cruise in his Matt Lauer mode is still to be seen really gets us excited…

you have to watch this video, not only for the 100% Xenu tiny tommy is channeling but also for rare proof that he’s way smaller than you think! (boy, those are some lifts!)

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beware it’s an autostart video

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After Katie Holmes apologized to actress Leah Remini following her 20/20 interview last month, where she disclosed details about some Scientology followers, a report now suggests that Holmes was just attempting to humiliate former husband Tom Cruise. Remini had shared secrets from the church and Holmes had later responded to Remini for upsetting Remini in the past.

Radar Online said, citing a source from Scientology telling In Touch Weekly, that Cruise is now furious with Holmes for apologizing to Remini, who had left Scientology in 2013. Remini’s new book “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology,” which hit stores Tuesday, claims that in a “Knowledge Report” that Holmes wrote after the couple’s wedding in Rome, Remini was said to be a “poor example to others.”

Holmes had said: “I regret having upset Leah in the past and wish her only the best in the future.”

The source reportedly told In Touch Weekly: “It speaks volumes,” adding: “That one sentence makes it clear how regretful and remorseful Katie feels about her time with Tom and Scientology,” according to Radar Online.

“Katie is clearly getting back at Tom,” the source, reportedly said, according to Radar Online, adding: “This is the most aggressive she’s been since she blindsided him with divorce papers three years ago. She’s humiliating Tom again.”

“Tom is furious with Katie because he knows, and the church knows, that she has a nondisclosure agreement,” the source said, adding: “Katie agreed not to spill any secrets.”

Cruise and Holmes got married in 2006 and divorced six years later. They have a 9-year old daughter together. Cruise also has a 22-year-old daughter, Isabella Jane Cruise, and a 20 year-old son, Connor Antony Cruise, with his former wife Nicole Kidman.

Tom Cruise Is Not The Father Of Suri Cruise? Katie Holmes Got Pregnant By Scientology Handler?

Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise, and Suri Cruise

(Photo : By:Toby Canham Getty Images Entertainment)

When Leah Remini revealed that her new book called “Troublemaker” was about Scientology, Tom Cruise allegedly got worried that she will expose a lot of things about the organization and his personal life.

“Tom’s frightened that Leah knows about Scientology’s dirty laundry,” an insider told In Touch. “He’s bracing for the worst.”

Maybe what he’s really scared about is revealing the real father of Suri Cruise.

According to Inquisitr, there were speculations that Katie Holmes got pregnant by former Scientology handler Tommy Davis, who is also the son of American actress Anne Archer.

The 43-year-old former Scientology official and his wife disappeared for two years after the 36-year-old actress left the 53-year-old Hollywood superstar.

Katie Holmes was labeled as a Suppressive Person (SP) which is what the members call someone who defies the law of the Church.

Upon hearing the rumors that Tom Cruise isn’t the father of Suri Cruise, the “Mission Impossible 5” star was upset and worried that he will have to take paternity test someday. The speculations started a few years ago when Celebitchy shared the insider’s theory.

“Tom is furious that rumors over whether or not he’s Suri’s biological dad persist, and he’s completely outraged that the chatter has intensified since his split with Katie,” the source revealed the Enquirer. “Tom loves that little girl with all his heart and his priority in life is keeping a strong father-daughter bond despite his and Katie’s bust-up,” the insider added.

According to a source close to Tom Cruise, he made sure that the divorce was settled quickly so he won’t have any issues with his daughter.

However, the father-daughter bond that the insider was talking about wasn’t evident. The actor was rarely seen with Suri Cruise and there were even reports that he hasn’t seen her for more than two years.

Maybe the rumor that Tommy Davis was the real father of Suri was true because there’s a resemblance in their features.

Only Katie Holmes will be able to testify that, but she prefers not to talk about her ex-husband and Scientology when she refused to take part in Leah Remini’s expose.

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Harassment is not a constitutionally protected form of free speech.

This might seem obvious, but it wasn’t to the Church of Scientology.

Last week, a Texas appeals court rejected the church’s attempt to fend off a lawsuit alleging it relentlessly harassed the wife of a former high-ranking church official. The church argued that the lawsuit revolved around its rights of “free speech” and “association” and the right “to petition.”

Here are some of the bizzare acts alleged in court documents by Monique Rathbun, wife of church dissident Marty Rathbun.

Scientologists appeared at Rathbun’s Comal County home after dark to “interrograte her aggressively” and fled when she called police.

Scientology operatives approached Rathbun and her husband in a golf cart with up to six cameras, “filming them and shout(ing) insults and rude questions.”

The church sent a sex toy to Rathbun at her workplace and published claims on websites that she was a transgender male and a “sexual pervert.”

A Scientology private investigator leased a residence across from the Rathbuns’ Ingleside on the Bay home and “installed high-powered still and video cameras pointed at and into” their home.

After the Rathbuns moved to a wooded lot in Comal County, a Scientologist leased undeveloped property next to their home and installed a surveillance camera directed at their property.

Marty Rathbun has spoken out against the church since he left in 2004 as its second-highest-ranking official. In the HBO documentary “Going Clear,” he criticized the erratic behavior of current Scientology leader David Miscavige.

“When he got absolute power, he went absolutely bonkers,” Rathbun said.

In court documents, the church claimed its actions against the Rathbuns were acts of protest and an attempt to produce a documentary about issues of “public importance, including importance to Scientologists.”

To back its claim, the church cited the Texas Citizens Participation Act, a “relatively new law (that is) supposed to protect citizens from being abused by powerful organizations when they exercise their constitutional rights,” said Ray Jeffrey, an attorney for Rathbun.

“The Scientologists turned that law on its head,” Jeffrey added. “And this multi-billion dollar organization was seeking to use it as a weapon against one lady of no means who was trying to sue them to protect herself.”

An attorney for the church did not return a call requesting comment.

Jeffrey’s “weapon” metaphor is apt.

“The only way to defend anything is to ATTACK,” wrote Scientology’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, more than five decades ago.

That philosophy is reflected in the church’s current “operations manual,” which describes how it deals with dissidents.

“These persons can always lose their jobs,” the manual states, according to court documents. “If the person’s job is not valuable to him or if he cannot be made to lose his job, something can be found which he is seeking to protect and it can be threatened.”

Apparently, the church has identified Marty Rathbun’s family as something worth threatening.

By brazenly acknowledging its actions, though, the church has likely hastened a legal ruling that such harassment is not only wrong, but also illegal.

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