A former French Scientology official has been sentenced to two years in prison for fraud, along with four other Scientologists who received suspended sentences of six months to two years.
Xavier Delamare, former head of Scientology’s branch in the southern French city of Marseille, was sentenced Monday in connection with a 10-year-old case in which he was found guilty of operating sham “purification” courses between 1987 and 1990.
As with the others, Delamare will not go to prison because 18 months of his sentence was suspended and he was credited with six months for time served in connection with the case in 1990.
The French government and Scientology have long been at odds. The government includes the Los Angeles-based church on a list of religious groups it tracks as potentially dangerous cults. Scientology accuses the French government of religious discrimination and dismissed the court decision as politically motivated.