Hungary: Police search Scientology center in Budapest

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungarian police carried out a search at a Church of Scientology center in Budapest on Wednesday.

Police said the search by members of the National Investigation Bureau was related to an investigation into the suspected misuse of personal information and other crimes.

Police listed the investigation’s target as “unknown persons,” a common designation when a specific suspect or suspects have not been identified.

Church of Scientology International spokeswoman Karin Pouw called the search “religious suppression under the guise of data protection.”

The raid was “an outrageous and wholesale violation of the human rights of all Scientologists in the country,” Pouw said in a statement to The Associated Press.

“These actions are guided by the discriminatory and hostile purposes of data protection officials who are using the law not as a shield to safeguard others, but as a sword to violate the rights of Scientology parishioners,” she said.

Online publication ripost.hu said over 50 police officers surrounded the church’s Budapest headquarters on one of the Hungarian capital’s busiest roads early Wednesday.

Hungarian police confirmed the search took place, but said additional information would not be released because the investigation.

The Church of Scientology is not among the 32 churches officially recognized by Hungary since a widely disputed law on churches and religious matters went into force in 2012.