Done in the name of Scientology

A major case against the Scientologists alleging a regime of imprisonment and violence on students who stepped out of line at their East Grinstead headquarters has recently been transferred to the High Court and is now pending.

The Scientologists are being sued by two students from Zimbabwe who say they won scholarships to study with the denomination in the UK.

In a 13-page writ, issued by firm Beverley L Ryall, of Chichester, Sipho Gumpo, of Chichester, and Nikosilaf Moyo, of East Grinstead, say they were recruited to work for the Scientologists through newspaper adverts in the Bulawayo Chronicle in 1991 and offered UK scholarships at the Scientologists' premises in Saint Hill, East Grinstead.

They claim they had to sleep in unsanitary dormitories crowded with 30 people sleeping in three-tier bunk beds on dirty bed linen and blankets.

The writ says they were coerced or forced to carry out domestic cleaning and household chores for around eight and a half hours a day. They also claim male students were forbidden to talk to or associate with female students, watch TV, listen to the radio, purchase newspapers or associate with outsiders on trips into East Grinstead. And they claim that if a student mixed freely with other students or held conversations with other students this was regarded as "subversive."

Members of a group called Sea Organisation are said to have threatened "subversive" students with the rehabilitation project force, the centre's jail.

Once there students are said to have been forced to do menial work for long hours, eat leftovers and forbidden to speak unless spoken to.

"Subversives" are also said to have been kept in isolation, force fed and/or physically assaulted by their guards.