[JURIST] The German government announced Friday that it has ended its investigation into the practices of the Church of Scientology [church website]. The German Interior Ministry [official website] began a probe into Scientology [JURIST report] in 2007, calling it an "organization that is not compatible with the constitution," seeking to ban the organization. The German announcement came during a meeting of ministers in Potsdam. While the government's investigation into Scientology has ceased, the organization will continue to be under surveillance by domestic intelligence services [AP report]. Additionally, the German Office for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC) [official website] has said that it will continue to monitor Scientology [OPC backgrounder].
Scientology, founded by American science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, has come under increasing scrutiny in Europe in recent years. Last September, a Scientology center in France faced criminal charges [JURIST report] in connection with allegations of fraud and the illegal practice of pharmacy. In September 2007, Belgian prosecutor Jean-Claude Van Espen said Scientology should be classified as a criminal organization [JURIST report] after completing a 10-year investigation into the church's activities.