Church of Scientology 'imprisoned' woman
November 29 2011
An Australian resident claims the Church of Scientology imprisoned her on a cruise ship for over a decade in a bid to stop her leaving the religion.
Swiss-born Valeska Paris told ABC's Lateline that she was forced to live on the ship 'The Freewinds' for 12 years from the age of 17, after signing a contract binding her to the church for "a billion years".
I did not want to be there and that was considered bad ethics
"I did not want to be there, I made it clear I did not want to be there and that was considered bad ethics, meaning it was considered not right," she said.
"They take your passport when you go on the ship and you're in the middle of an island."
At the age of six, Ms Paris moved from Switzerland to Scientology's headquarters in England with her parents, who had joined the church before she was born.
As a 14-year-old she was allegedly compelled to disconnect herself from her entire family after her mother denounced the church on French television.
Her mother had left the church after the suicide of Ms Paris's father, a self-made millionaire who said Scientology had fleeced him of his fortune.
For the first six years of her time on 'The Freewinds', Ms Paris said she was unable to leave without an escort and was often asked to do hard labour by herself in the ship's engine room.
Former 'Freewinds' executive director Ramana Dienes-Browning has backed up the claims, but the church itself has said Ms Paris's claims were "false".
Ms Paris left the church soon after meeting and marrying fellow Scientologist and former St George Dragons captain Chris Guider.
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