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Wednesday, September 22, 1999 Published at 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK

World: Europe

French Scientology trial

A French prosecutor has asked a court in Marseille to jail a former leader of the Church of Scientology who has been accused of obtaining large sums of money by fraud from other members of the Church.

The prosecutor also called for suspended sentences to be given to five of the six other people accused in the case.

In her summing up, the prosecutor said the accused had been engaged in a massive con trick.

However, the scientologists said they were being persecuted for their beliefs.Defence lawyers had argued the Scientologists could not receive a fair trial because of what they described as the media hysteria surrounding the case.

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