Scientology Raided: suspicious death and arson

Tuesday, February 10, 1998, 14:02

Munich (dpa)

On Tuesday the German police swept through five buildings used by the Scientology organization. The reason given was that an investigation into an unexplained death in the organization as well as felonious arson was being conducted.

The district attorney is investigating among other things the death of of a Scientology sect member which occurred in 1997. According to official statement, because of illness the man was called upon by [legally] responsible members of the organization to consume a large quantity of tablets which had been ordered through a clearinghouse in the Netherlands.

Head district attorney Peter Schlicht said that in this context the investigation would be one of practicing medicine without a license.

Charges of arson were placed against a 42 year old man. According to the officials, the accused denied the charge. He explained that his girlfriend was a member of the sect, not him. Members of the [Scientology] organization had set the fires. Damages of over 40,000 marks [$30,000] were caused by two fires in 1997, and one fire in 1996.

According to a statement by the State Attorney's office, Scientology dearly values the fact that the organization itself has not been charged. The District Attorney has made it known that the organization as well as the accountable members will be subject to a comprehensive investigation of the charges.