Useful for anybody who wants to find out more about FECRIS and their member groups, would be knowing about their actual relationship with courts of law and common justice.
A considerable number of key representatives and spokespersons in FECRIS affiliated groups, as well as some of the groups themselves, were subpoenaed on the grounds of hate speech or attempts to force members of new religious movements to recant their new faith through kidnapping and “deprogramming”.
Just to clarify – “deprogramming” is a method designed at changing the attitude, personality or viewpoint through mental and physical techniques of coercion. The term arose during the Korean War in 1950–1953, when the Chinese resorted to “brainwashing” of American and British prisoners to induce them to accept Communism. “Brainwashing” means intensive coercive psychological and physical treatments to force a person to give up his political, religious or social attitude or view in order to embrace a desired conviction. Anti-sect activists accuse new religious movements to have “brainwashed” their followers to justify the fact that the latter would need to be “deprogrammed” through coercive means. More information on practical applications of such “method” can be found here: https://www.cesnur.org/2001/CAN/appendix_A.htm
Here is a (definitely non-thorough) list of the most striking judicial proceedings and their outcomes.
He repeatedly committed libel and slander against minority religious groups. Many of the suits against him on this ground ended up in settlements by which he agreed not to repeat his false statements, yet he failed to put an end to this so his hate speech continued.
AGPF & Sekten-Info Essen (FECRIS member groups in Germany)
A court in Munich sentenced the founder of Sekten-Info Essen for hate speech against the religious movements Osho and Tagar Singh. In a final judgment issued on December 19th, 2001, by the Munich State Court, Ms. Heide-Marie Cammans, founder of Sekten-Info Essen, was ordered to stop repeating or spreading a wide variety of untruths about Takar Singh (an Eastern religious group) or else she would be fined up to 500,000 DM or, if not paid, be sentenced to jail for up to 6 months. These included allegations such as accusing a person of being a criminal, of torturing children or of rape. The sale of the book they were distributing about the group was also forbidden. The name of the book was “The new prophets” (German: Die Neuen Heilsbringer, Auswege oder Wege ins Aus) (Case Nr. Az: 908736/99 Munich I State court, 9 civil chamber) (German: Landgericht München I). Note: AGPF namely stands for “Action for Spiritual and Psychical Freedom” or “Aktion für Geistige und Psychische Freiheit” in German.
In another case, which was taken to the Supreme Court by Osho against Sekten-Info Essen and AGPF, the Court ruled that public powers could not finance such associations because they were distributing biased information. On 27 March 1992, the German Federal Supreme Court ruled that it would be against the law for the State to provide funding for organizations such as AGPF and Sekten-Info Essen. The case was taken to court by the new religious movement, OSHO, Ref. Case Nr. 7C21-90LU66)
UNADFI (key FECRIS member group in France)
Representatives of UNADFI and its regional branches have been sentenced on the grounds of defamation against minority religious movements. Note: UNADFI namely stands for “National Union of the Associations for the Defense of Families and the Individual” or “Union Nationale des Associations de Défense des Familles et de l’Individu” in French.
FAIR (FECRIS member group in England)
A key member of FAIR in the 2nd half of 1980s was Martin Faiers, known all over Europe as a “deprogramming” practitioner. In January 1986, in Italy a Parliament Member filed a motion to the assembly to investigate the case of a young man, Luigi Giacomin from Pordenone, Italy, who had joined the Hare Krishna and was then abducted to be “deprogrammed” by Faiers, whose fee for such a service would be around 7,700 USD (of those times) per each week of “treatment”. Faiers was previously indicted by the UK police for kidnapping and “deprogramming” a British young woman, Caroline Banks (23), who had converted to Islam. Wanted, after fleeing from England, Faiers set his headquarters in Saint Claude, France. Note: FAIR namely stands for “Family Action Information Resource”, now renamed as “Family Survival Trust”.
SADK (FECRIS member group in Switzerland)
In March 1989, Sandro P., who had joined the Hare Krishna movement, was kidnapped by four men on the initiative of his parents who were both members of SADK. Their purpose was to submit him to a “deprogramming” treatment. The leading deprogrammer was an Englishman, Martin Faiers, member of the English FECRIS member association FAIR (namely “Family Action Information Resource”, now renamed as “Family Survival Trust” - see above). The four deprogrammers took Sandro P. to an isolated holiday home where he was detained against his will. Two days later, after the Hare Krishna community had alerted the police on the situation, the police stormed the house and freed him. The four deprogrammers were arrested; Martin Faiers as the leading deprogrammer later received a 6-month imprisonment conviction (suspended) and the two parents both got a 10-month imprisonment (suspended, too). Note: SADK namely stands for “Swiss Study Group against Destructive Cults”, or “Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft gegen destruktive Kulte”.
FRI (FECRIS member group in Sweden)
In 1988, Sara G., a member of a small Christian group called “The Bridge-Builders”, was abducted and detained for 13 days against her will. She was submitted to a deprogramming attempt by Eva Pehrsson, a member of FRI. On 19 December 1990, Pehrsson was convicted by the Gothenburg District Court and was ordered to pay 10,428 SEK (Swedish Krona). In 1987, Jakob K., a convert to Hare Krishna, was kidnapped by his father (a FRI member) with three deprogrammers (FRI members, too). The boy was kept in confinement for two weeks but finally managed to escape and filed a complaint with the police. Note: FRI namely stands for “Association Save the Individual”, or “Föreningen Rädda Individen”.
More specifics will be coming up soon.