Scientologists On Trial In Spain In 1988, Heber Jentzch, the Church of Scientology Interna
Scientologists On Trial In Spain
In 1988, Heber Jentzch, the Church of Scientology International
president, and 69 other Scientology officials were detained. Jentzch was
put into prison, where he remained for a month before being released on
bail of $1m.This action followed an investigation which had, at
the time, been going on for four years, and whose start coincided with
the issuance of a search and detention order against Kurt Weiland, now
head of Scientology's intelligence and dirty tricks department, the
Office of Special Affairs, who was also named in the formal complaint
laid down in 1988. Weiland had been accused of involvement in 1983 with
a kidnap that had been alleged to have taken place, and with acts
performed against Scientologists who were not following the party line.
The non-Spanish individuals against whom these complaints were made,
including Jentzch and Weiland, were allowed to leave the country: the
Spanish citizens arrested have been refused permission to leave Spain.
Given Scientology's legendary history of only recognising a court's
decision when it is in their favour, one feels inclined to wonder
whether it is likely that either Scientologist would voluntarily return
to Spain to face what appears to be an increasingly inevitable move down
the judicial road towards a conviction for at least some of the accused
parties.The case in Spain appears to have been a situation where
Scientology made a major mistake. In situations where a legal action
against Scientology starts to look like it is going to succeed, "Church"
policy is to buy off the plaintiff with a settlement and a "keep-quiet"
contract: since most people involved in legal battles with the "Church"
quickly discover that their opponent has a habit of swamping any
litigation with hundreds of additional filings and motions, slowing the
whole business to a crawl and increasing litigants' costs, most
litigants would be only too happy to take the money, sign whatever was
put in front of them, and walk away from the whole sorry mess. This
works fine in many (if not most) court systems in the world, since if
the plaintiff withdraws from the action, there is no action.
It was, therefore, not entirely surprising that the "Church" of
Scientology did exactly this, and bought off the individuals making
complaints against them. It was here that they made their fatal mistake:
Spanish law places a duty upon the State Attorney to pursue criminal
charges even if the plaintiff declines to do so, and Scientology found
itself, for once, standing before the implacable steamroller of a
justice system it could not manipulate to its own ends. Furthermore,
where Scientology has previously been able to put a junior "sacrificial
goat" up to take the rap for a criminal act perpetrated in furtherance
of Scientology aims, in Spain this strategy was also useless, as Spanish
justice holds the legal representatives of organisations
liable for offences perpetrated by those organisations: once again,
Scientology's traditional ability to evade a legal assault on its abuses
had been sidelined, and puts Jentzch directly into the firing line.
In December 1994, the Magistrate Judge of the Tribunal of Instruction 21
of Madrid handed down his Decree of Commencement of Oral Trial,
indicting and twenty other Scientologists. Weiland and three others have
not been included in the group being indicted, apparently as a result of
a failure to formally charge them in the first place.
In a smart move which suggests that the Spanish courts have been
watching the "Church" of Scientology's actions with regard to their
refusal to pay the judgement in Larry Wollersheim's case, they have
demanded surety of nearly 161 million pesetas (£861,000).
Of course, the fact that David Miscavige, the head of Scientology
worldwide, is prepared to go on the run for a debt three times that
amount suggests that even this hefty sum might not be enough to persuade
"Church" officials to start obeying the laws of the countries they
The doors in Europe are closing to the "Church", one by one.
A copy of the Decree ordering commencement of oral trial is below.
COURT OF INSTRUCTION 21MADRIDD / Previas 2663/84
DECREE OF THE COMMENCEMENT OF ORAL TRIALIn Madrid on the
twelfth of December of nineteen hundred and ninety four.
FIRST. - On January 18th of
1993 the decree resolving compliance with the procedure enjoined in
Chapter II of Title III of Volume IV of the Law of Criminal
Prosecution, the fourth of the resolutions listed in section V of
article 789, and in accordance with the first paragraph of section 1 of
article 790 of the aforementioned Law, in said resolution it was so
disposed to effect the transfer provided for in said legal precept.
SECOND. - Upon having executed the accorded transfer,
the District Attorney's Office and the accusations represented by the
Procurer Don Evencio Conde de Gregorio and Doña Remedios Yolanda
Luna Sierra, they have presented, in time and form, legal briefs
soliciting the opening of the oral trial before the Illustrious
Provincial Audience of Madrid and formulating a writ of accusation.
FIRST. - Exhibiting, in principle and
without prejudgment, the qualities of the felonies of illicit
association, threats, coercion, usurpation of functions, false
accusation, simulation of a felony, illegal arrest, crimes against the
Tax Administration, crimes against freedom and safety in the workplace,
intrusion, crimes against public health, injuries, damages, abuse,
slander and inducement to suicide, the particulars which have been the
object of the present lawsuit and sufficient incriminating elements
having been made manifest from the actions which have been carried out
to attribute these to Heber Jentzch, Arturo Reguera Ardanza, Maria del
Carmen Muñoz Rosal, Santiago Vadillo Aceves, Ma. Victory de Blas
Arribas, Enrique Coll Llopis, Valentin Fernandez-Tubau Rodes,
Virgilio Castellanos Saiz, Carlos Aliaga Aznar, Manuel Ruiz Serrano,
Enrique Ayuso Ferrer, Ma. Antonia Navarro Castillo, Ma. Monserrat
Aguilera Martin, Alfonso Marin Rodriguez, Ma. Luis Pere Aguilar, Ma.
Belen Martin Garcia, Jose Manuel Villarejo Perez, Judith Francos
Abancos, Humberto Fontana, Finn Gerald Thomas and Harold Claude
Roussart, - who have been accused, and the commencement of the oral
trial having been requested, it proceeds to decree the commencement of
said oral trial, summoning the accused so that they may defend
themselves in the form legally contemplated, and adopting at the same
time the precautionary measures necessary to insure the outcome of the
SECOND. - Pursuant to article 790,6,
fourth paragraph, in relation with article 14, third and fourth, of the
Law of Criminal Prosecution, and the petitions of the District
Attorney's Office and of the private accusations having been examined,
the Illusterous Provincial Audience of Madrid (Section No.4) must be
indicated as the competent agency for the prosecution and resolution of
THIRD. - Pursuant to the penalties solicited in
said writs of accusation, as well as the quantity of civil liabilities,
it is proper to adopt the precautionary measures in the terms which will
be expressed in the stipulations section of this resolution.
FOURTH. - Although the commencement of the oral
trial has been solicited, formulating the accusation against a specific
person or persons, the first paragraph of section 6 of article 790 of
the Law of Criminal Prosecution empowers to the Judge of Instruction to
decree the dismissal of the lawsuit when he consider there is
concurrence with what is contemplated in number 2 of article 637 of this
Law or that there does not exist rational indications of criminality
against the accused and so it occurs with respect to the accused by the
private accusation represented by the Procurer Don Evencio Conde de
Gregorio, Kurt Weiland, Per Ake Gardstrom, William Knight and Peter
Warren and so from a given examination of the proceedings which have
been practiced it appears that there does not exist rational indications
of criminality against said accused with respect to the felonies that
are imputed by said private accusation, since at no time, throughout
this long delayed proceeding were their declarations heard in the
investigation phase, in quality of imputed, neither were they informed
of the imputation directed against them, nor of their legally
established rights which would assist them and therefore have not,
during the investigation phase, had the possibility of making whatever
allegations that they might have considered appropriate in their defense
in the instruction phase, nor the execution of whatever procedures which
they might have judged relevant towards the same end, consequently, not
having acquired previously the condition of being charged, and not being
recognized such fell accusations in our judicial ordinance, the
participation of these accused persons in the commission of the crimes
which said private accusation imputes to them not ensuing either from
the documental evidence or from the balance of from the formal actions
practiced, whereby, in accordance with what is disposed in article 641,
2' of the Law of Criminal Prosecution, the provisional abatement of the
lawsuit with respect to the accused Kurt Weiland, Per Ake Gardstrom,
William Knight and Peter Warren.
FIFTH. - Upon stipulating in this decree the
rulings enjoined by the mentioned legal procedures, at the same time it
must be specified according to what has been stipulated about the
sequence of the proceedings in article 791 of the Law of Criminal
In attention to that which has been set forth, I HEREBY ORDER:
1ST. - To decree the commencement of the oral
trial and to consider this criminal lawsuit to be founded on the
felonies of illicit association, threats, coercion, usurpation of
functions, false accusation, simulation of a felony, illegal arrest,
crimes against the Tax Administration, crimes against freedom and safety
in the workplace, intrusion, crimes against the public health,
injuries, damages, abuse, slander and inducement to suicide, against
HEBER JENTSZCH, ARTURO REGUERA ARDANZA, MARIA DEL CARMEN MUÑOZ
ROSAL, SANTIAGO VADILLO ACEVES, MARIA VICTORY DE BLAS ARRIBAS, ENRIQUE
COLL LLOPIS, VALENTIN FERNANDEZ-TUBAU RODES, VIRGILIO CASTELLANOS SAIZ,
CARLOS ALIAGA AZNAR, MANUEL RUIZ SERRANO, ENRIQUE AYUSO FERRER, MARIA
ANTONIA NAVARRO CASTILLO, MARIA MONSERRAT AGUILERA MARTIN, ALFONSO MARIN
RODRIGUEZ, MARIA LUIS PEREZ AGUILAR, MARIA BELEN MARTIN GARCIA, JOSE
MANUEL VILLAREJO PEREZ, JUDITH FRANCOS ABANCOS, HUMBERTO FONTANA, FINN
GERALD THOMAS, and HAROLD CLAUDE ROUSSART.
2ND. - The following precautionary measures are hereby ordered.
To decree the provisional release of the accused.
It is decreed, as a civil accountability, the sum of one
hundred sixty million eight hundred forty one thousand two hundred
seventy one pesetas (160.841.271), to guarantee the financial
responsibilities that could be declared pertinent. Require of Heber
Jentzch, Arturo Reguera Ardanza, Maria del Carmen Muñoz Rosal,
Santiago Vadillo Aceves, Maria Victory de Blas Arribas, Enrique Coll
Llopis, Valentin Fernandez-Tubau Rodes, Virgilio Castellanos Saiz,
Carlos Aliaga Aznar, Manuel Ruiz Serrano, Enrique Ayuso Ferrer, Maria
Antonia Castillo, Maria Monserrat Aguilera Martin, Alfonso Marin
Rodriguez, Maria Luis Perez Aguilar, Maria Belen Martin Garcia, Jose
Manuel Villarejo Perez, Judith Francos Abancos, Humberto Fontana, Finn
Gerald Thomas, and Harold Claude Roussart so that within the period of
one audience and in solidarity they present this amount, with the
admonition of the fact that if they do not deliver it within the
stipulated period, that the court will proceed to seize assets of their
property in sufficient proportion to cover it. Compose a separate legal
action of civil responsibility with the documentation of it concerning
The Illustrious Provincial Audience of Madrid (fourth section) is
appointed as the judicially competent agency for the hearing and the
verdict of the present lawsuit.
Subpoena the accused with delivery of the copies of the writs of
accusation so that in the period of three days they may appoint Attorney
and Procurer to defend and represent them; and if this is not done, name
them at the state's expense and once satisfied this action, transfer to
them a copy of the proceedings in photocopy so that within the period of
60 days they may present their writs of defense in opposition to the
3RD. - To deny the opening of oral trial solicited
by the private accusation represented by the Procurer Sr. Conde de
Gregorio against Kurt Weiland, Per Ake Gardstrom, William Knight and
Peter Warren and decree with respect to the same the provisional
abatement of the present lawsuit.
There is no appeal permitted in opposition to the section of the
decree of commencement of the oral trial, except in what is related to
the personal situation of the accused. An appellate recourse in
opposition to the section of the decree which denies the opening of the
oral trial may be formulated within the period of five days.
Thusly do I decree and signD& Maria Paz Redondo Gil,
Magistrate Judge of the Tribunal of Instruction 21 of Madrid.
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