In a victory for the constitutional right of every German citizen to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, a court in Baden-Württemberg has thrown out the state government’s appeal against a judgment won by a Scientologist whose faith had been used as grounds to dismiss him from his job as an airport electrical technician.
On March 4, the State Administrative Court of Appeal for Baden-Württemberg in southwestern Germany upheld a lower court’s June 2020 verdict that the Scientologist had been unfairly dismissed from a job that he had carried out well for years in secure areas of German and European airports.
The appeals court affirmed the judgment of the Administrative Court Stuttgart, as reported by the International Association for the Defense of Religious Liberty, a French nonprofit organization founded in 1946 and popularly known by its French abbreviation, AIDLR: “The plaintiff had credibly demonstrated to the Court that—just [as] for any other Scientologist—his membership in Scientology is solely about his spiritual development as a human being.”
Quoting the Stuttgart Administrative Court, AIDLR noted the judgment’s stark conclusion that “no factual indicators are evident that the plaintiff pursues or supports or has pursued or supported any anti-constitutional endeavors in the meaning of … the Federal Law on the Office for Protection of the Constitution….”
AIDLR reports that the State Air Traffic Security Agency “had been tipped off by the State Office for Protection of the Constitution about the Scientologist membership of the plaintiff,” and “subsequently adjudicated the Scientologist ‘unreliable,’ basing this solely on his long-term religious membership.”
“Hats off to the German courts, but shame on the state agencies that brought this about,” wrote Martin Weightman, Director of the All Faiths Network, based in the United Kingdom.
There has long been evidence that the German government is trampling on the liberties of its religious minorities in direct violation of international human rights agreements, he said.
“In dozens of court cases over the past 35 years, Scientology has won case after case, which has affirmed the practice of Scientology is a bona fide religious belief,” Weightman stated. “It is surely time that the entrenched political influence and the completely unconscionable actions of the State Security Services were far more intensely placed under a microscope by the international community.”
In response to the ruling, Eric Roux, vice president of the European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights, stated that “past discriminatory pillorying of the Church and its membership in Germany by certain state security agencies is nothing but blatant human rights violations. The time is well past that such agencies must be subject to international human rights law standards as provided for in guarantees of international treaties of the UN, the OSCE and the EU Human Rights Convention.”
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