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U.S. to list Germany for abusing Scientologists

January 27, 1997
Web posted at: 10:45 p.m. EST

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- When the U.S. State Department's annual survey of human rights abuses is released Wednesday, it is expected to list Germany for its treatment of members of the Church of Scientology.

The issue has bubbled to the surface in recent weeks because Scientologists have stepped up their criticism of Germany, and have likened their treatment to the Nazis' persecution of the Jews.

While critical of Germany, the U.S. government has nevertheless heard that claim before, and rejected it.

The German government claims the Church of Scientology is a cult that exerts mind control over its members and which often extorts large sums of money from members.

The church, founded in the 1950s by L. Ron Hubbard, claims 8 million members worldwide, including about 30,000 members in Germany. It fought for years to be accepted as a church, finally gaining legal status as such in the United States in 1993.


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