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Reader’s Digest Ban Lifted In Scientology Libel Case

November 26, 1991 GMT

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) _ A court Tuesday overturned a temporary injunction barring the sale of more than 320,000 copies of the Swiss editions of a Reader’s Digest issue that contained material critical of the Church of Scientology.

Lawyers for Reader’s Digest had challenged a Sept. 17 Lausanne court ruling that blocked Swiss distribution of the October issue’s German-language and French-language versions.

Swiss subscribers were mailed the issue in defiance of the court order because it violated press freedom, said Hans Bosshard, the local managing editor.

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Scientology obtained the injunction claiming the material was aimed at destroying the group.

Tuesday’s court ruling said that only ″the temporal aspect″ of Scientology was attacked in the article.

Reader’s Digest counsel Baptiste Rusconi said his client would claim unspecified damages from lost sales due to the controversy.

In a statement from its Los Angeles headquarters, Scientology said the Swiss ruling was irrelevant to the merits of its complaint. The group said it would continue to fight Reader’s Digest in the courts.

″The issue in this case is the responsibility of Reader’s Digest for accurate reporting, no matter how strenuously Reader’s Digest tries to hide this fact behind the smoke screen of freedom of press,″ the statement said.

Bosshard said the article in question was a reprint of a Time magazine piece published last May, which was also reprinted in most of the other 26 editions of Reader’s Digest published worldwide in 16 languages.

The sect failed in attempts in attempts in to have courts in German, Italy, the Netherlands and France issue similar injunctions, he said.