Administrative Court dismisses charge -
Distribution of form may be continued -
Thousands in use
April 8, 2000
by Insa Gall
It was a model trial of nationwide importance - and ended with a defeat for the Scientology Organization. On Friday, the Hamburg Administrative Court was to decide whether the so-called "technology declaration," with which corporations can protect themselves from infiltration by Scientologists. was permissible. After a short exchange of blows in the verbal proceedings, one thing is clear: Hamburg's active Scientology opponent, Ursula Caberta, may continue to distribute the declaration.
In the early '90s, Caberta, the Director of the Work Group on Scientology developed the document with her time in the Interior Agency; since then the form has been used thousands of times across Germany. Corporations and private individuals are able to have business partners certify that they do not operate according to the technology of L. Ron Hubbard and that they also reject in in their management. It is not possible for Scientologists to sign this form.
The court's decision was anticipated with tension by the organization: for instance, one of the German chiefs of the Scientology organization, Helmut Bloebaum traveled with his staff in order to be in the court hall. His legal representative, Wilhelm Bluemel, had wanted Ursula Caberta threatened with 2,000 marks punishment in the event she was prohibited by the court from circulating the "technology declaration," recommending it as part of consultation, or using it in general.
That is the manner in which the Scientologists intended to join in on the suits filed by two business operators. These believed their business situation was at risk because their customers has cancelled contracts after they had refused to sign the "technology declaration."
The Administrative Court dismissed all three complaints: the Scientologists because the case was about the exercise of business by the women, not about freedom of religion or association. Neither in the case of the two business operators did the court see a direct connection between the distribution of the "technology declaration" by the agency's work group on one side and a corporation's free decision to not do business with Scientologists by actually using the "technology declaration." This behavior was not directly attributable to the agency, according to the judges.
The arguments shot back and forth in the verbal proceeding: attorney Bluemel complained about discrimination against Scientologists in Germany and reminisced about the persecution of Jews during the Third Reich and about today's alienation of Turks and even touched on the Human Rights Convention. He said that employees who had been doing their work for decades were suddenly confronted with "the sect filter" and were losing their jobs day after day only because they were Scientologists, according to Bluemel. "When someone is exposed as a Scientologist, then that is it for him." He said there was a "fearful counter-mood" being stoked and that Ursula Caberta was co-responsible for it - an accusation which the accused took with visible satisfaction.
"This is not about discrimination against religion, because that is not what Scientology is," countered Ruediger Hintze, legal representative of the agency's work group. "We are only carrying out our official mission to inform people about the dangers of this group and to develop a device by which people affected can protect themselves." He said that whether somebody used the "technology declaration" was up to him. As a rule, corporations had made the decision not to engage Scientologists long before they came for consultation. "The work group is not responsible for that," according to Hintze. He said it was not the belief of the Scientologists that was being combatted, but Hubbard's technology.
The Scientologists can submit an appeal to yesterdays' decision in superior administrative court.