France: Scientology takes City of Reims to court

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France: Scientology takes City of Reims to court

Post by mnql1 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:33 pm

Translation of a French article posted on April 12, 2012 on the website of L'Union, a regional daily newspaper headquartered in Reims, France.
La Ville de Reims aux prises avec la Scientologie
Scientology takes City of Reims to court

by Julienne Guihard-AUGENDRE
Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reims (Marne). Reims City Hall dragged its feet, so the Church of Scientology pounced and is taking City Hall to court. The matter could have been settled quickly, except that ...

In what is likely to emerge as a hollow lawsuit, the administrative court in Châlons will today hear a complaint brought by the Éthique et Liberté association against the City of Reims. Hollow but nevertheless revealing about the methods cherished by the Church of Scientology, which publishes Éthique et Liberté magazine.

Reviewing the substance of the case will probably not take up much of the judges' time. The Éthique et Liberté association decided to take the City of Reims to court for "failure to provide administrative documents." The matter began in 2008. At that time, Éthique et Liberté requested information about the amount of subsidies granted by the City of Reims to the Association for the Defense of Families and the Individual (UNADFI), an organization that combats sects. "In general," says Antoine Robert, secretary of the Éthique et Liberté association, "things go well in the communities where we ask for this information. In Reims, clearly, someone has been setting up roadblocks. Either that, or there was a lack of communication ... "

Antoine Robert is able to formulate this generality because Scientology, through the Éthique et Liberté association, has a habit of making this kind of information request, which, it must be said, is perfectly legal. This comes as no surprise to UNADFI's national president, Catherine Picard. "It's part of a strategy to snipe at people involved in the fight against sects," she believes, "and it's a way to get others to talk about them."

The story could have ended in 2008, except that Reims City Hall turned a deaf ear and chose not to respond to the request. At least not right away. Reims Deputy Mayor Éric Quénard considers the court action "incomprehensible." "The association in question [UNADFI] did not receive any subsidy from us. Since we are prudent, we formally replied that the requested documents do not exist." Yes, but too late. The reply, according to the explanation we received from the city's department of communications, was sent after the complaint was filed with the administrative court.

Logically, the Éthique et Liberté association should have dropped the procedure, since it became useless. But this is not what happened. According to Antoine Robert, "City Hall decided to sue us and is seeking to have us ordered to pay 900 euros for making them waste a great deal of time." The legal skirmishing is thus set to take place in court this morning.

Regarding the background of this story and why Éthique et Liberté scrutinizes the subsidies received by UNADFI, this reflects the state of relations between a cult and an organization that combats cults. For Antoine Robert, "These subsidies represent large sums. Since this association [UNADFI] helps families, it should be funded by individuals, not by the public sector." The explanation given by the communication service of the Church of Scientology in Paris is a bit more candid: "These people are constantly opposing us, so it is normal that we seek to understand their funding and their motivations ... "

Since UNADFI's motivations are quite clear, this is no doubt a source of embarrassment for Scientology.
Translation of a French article posted on April 14, 2012 on the website of L'Union.
REIMS Scientologie : le tribunal rend sa décision en mai
Scientology vs Reims: Court to decide in May

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The case opposing Éthique et Liberté - which happens to be the magazine of the Church of Scientology - and Reims City Hall was reviewed by the administrative court in Châlons on Thursday morning. The court will issue its decision on Tuesday, May 15.

The matter began when Éthique et Liberté asked Reims City Hall to provide information about any subsidies paid to the Association for the Defense of Families and the Individual [UNADFI], an organization that combats cults.

Not having received any response after several months, Éthique et Liberté filed a legal complaint for "failure to provide administrative documents."

Once the legal complaint was filed, City Hall finally replied that the requested documents do not exist.

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Re: France: Scientology takes City of Reims to court

Post by mnql1 » Wed May 16, 2012 3:12 pm

Translation of a French article posted on May 16, 2012 on the website of L'Union, a daily newspaper headquartered in Reims, France.
Tribunal Administratif / La Scientologie recalée
Administrative court rebuffs Scientology

by Julienne Guihard-Augendre
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Reims (Marne). The administrative court has decided in favor of the City of Reims. Scientology, via its Éthique et Liberté association, will also have to pay the City 900 euros.

All that for this. Three years after the start of litigation initiated against the City of Reims by the Éthique et Liberté association, which publishes a magazine for the Church of Scientology, the administrative court in Châlons has put an end to this surrealistic exchange of unfriendly fire (reported in L'Union on April 12). In the decision it rendered yesterday, the court rejected the motion filed by Éthique et Liberté and it ordered Éthique et Liberté to pay the City of Reims 900 euros. This outcome appears logical, considering the facts surrounding the dispute, which all parties would have been better off avoiding.

What subsidies?

The case began in November 2008, when Éthique et Liberté asked City Hall to provide administrative documents concerning the National Union of Associations for the Defense of Families and the Individual (UNADFI), an organization that combats cults. The request concerned applications for subsidies for 2007 and 2008 by the UNADFI association in Reims, but also - strangely - by the Paris association. The request also asked for documents concerning the deliberations of the city council about these subsidies. Why this interest in UNADFI? "These people are constantly opposing us, so it is normal that we seek to understand their funding and their motivations," replied the communications service of the Paris Church of Scientology, as reported earlier. Catherine Picard, UNADFI's national president, expressed little surprise and said this was a very familiar strategy "to snipe at people involved in the fight against cults."

Nonexistent documents

Not receiving any answer from Reims City Hall, Éthique et Liberté began to see red and decided to file a complaint with the commission for access to administrative documents. The commission confirmed that the request was legal, as Éthique et Liberté knew very well because it habitually makes similar requests everywhere in France. With this ruling in hand, Éthique et Liberté then filed a complaint with the administrative court on April 11, 2009.

The legal jousting began and a key fact emerged: the City of Reims did not provide any documents for the simple reason that they do not exist. In other words, The UNADFI association in Reims does not receive any subsidy from the City. The legal proceedings should have ended at that stage, however the Scientology organization refused to pay the 900 euros that City Hall billed it to compensate for costs incurred. As a result, the litigation continued all the way to the end.

Regarding the heart of the matter, the argument that no subsidy had been granted to UNADFI in 2007 and 2008 was sufficient in the eyes of the court, which noted that "the refusal to provide nonexistent documents cannot, in any event, be construed as illegal."

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