21 June 2016, 10:44
Searches underway in Moscow and St. Petersburg to suppress unlawful activities of Church of Scientology (updated)
St. Petersburg/Moscow, June 21, Interfax - Large-scale investigative measures concerning the activity of the Church of Scientology are underway in Moscow and St. Petersburg on Tuesday, a source in law enforcement agencies told Interfax.
"Large-scale investigative measures and searches are being conducted as part of efforts to suppress the unlawful activities of the Church of Scientology and as part of a criminal case opened on a count of 'illegal entrepreneurship'," he said.
These measures are being taken both in Moscow and St. Petersburg, he said.
Interfax has so far been unable to obtain official confirmation of the report.
The press service of the Russian Federal Security Service's branch for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region has declined to comment.
An eyewitness told Interfax that officers of law enforcement agencies had arrived at the main scientologists' office in Moscow, located in the city's Taganskaya Street.
A police bus is parked near the building, all entrances to the office have been blocked and worshippers and other visitors are not being allowed inside, he said.
It was reported that in November 2015, the Moscow City Court ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by the Moscow branch of the Russian Justice Ministry seeking the closure of the Moscow Church of Scientology religious organization. The scientologists have been trying to appeal this decision at the Russian Supreme Court.
Justice Ministry officials said during the court session that the title 'scientology' was registered as a trademark and, consequently, the Moscow Church of Scientology could not be called a religious organization because it would violate Russia's law on religious organizations.
Moscow Church of Scientology representatives, for their part, asked the court to reject the Justice Ministry's lawsuit. They insisted that the closure of this religious organization would violate the rights of thousands of believers.
The judge then ordered the creation of a commission to close this religious organization within a six-month period following the enactment of the decision to remove information about the Moscow Church of Scientology from the list of religious organizations.
The Justice Ministry's Moscow branch concluded following a routine inspection in 2013 that the charter the organization had at that time did not meet the requirements of Russia's federal law on freedom of conscience and religious organizations and the organization's name did not offer any information about its form of incorporation or its faith.
The inspection also established that the word 'scientology' was registered as a trademark owned by the U.S. Center of Religious Technology, and the simultaneous use of this word as the name of a faith contravened the requirements of Article 28 of the Russian constitution.
A decision was made following the inspection of the activities of the Moscow Church of Scientology to conduct a state theological assessment, as a result of which the Moscow Church of Scientology was not recognized as a religious organization.
'Spying' devices - illegally installed acoustic microphones and video cameras, which are used to surreptitiously obtain information - were confiscated during a search at the Moscow Church of Scientology office on Taganskaya Street in mid-August.
A spokesperson for the Moscow branch of the Russian Investigative Committee, Yulia Ivanova, said later that a criminal investigation had been opened on a count of the illegal use of specialized technical equipment following the searches.
In 2007, the St. Petersburg City Court, acting at the request of the Prosecutor's Office, decided to shut down the Scientology Center public organization, which was also accused of illegal collection of information about people's private lives.
Scientology is a religious and philosophical movement founded by American science fiction writer Lafayette Ronald Hubbard in the United States in the middle of the past century. It is a system of faiths and practices composed of compilation of different quasi-scientific and religious ideas for people aspiring to success.
- Holy Synod of Moscow Patriarchate to assess Church of Greece decision to recognize OCU this fall 13 October 2019, 20:45
- Greek Orthodox Church hierarchs recognize OCU autocephaly 13 October 2019, 20:44
- New Syrian constitution must guarantee interests of all ethnic, religious groups - Putin 13 October 2019, 20:36
- Alma-Ata police conduct searches at Jehovah's Witnesses office 13 October 2019, 20:35
- Kardashian was named Egine after baptizing in Armenia 11 October 2019, 10:47
- Three Russian Islamist women accused of killing prison guard in Pakistan 11 October 2019, 10:45
- Man hurt in shooting near monastery in southern Urals 11 October 2019, 10:33
- Today's methods for countering anti-Semitism insufficient - FJCR 11 October 2019, 10:32
- Daughter, son-in-law of Orenburg priest charged with child molestation left in custody 09 October 2019, 14:12
- Two Jehovah's Witnesses released from custody, placed under house arrest in Russia's Primorye 08 October 2019, 13:38
- Kardashian baptized children in Armenia 08 October 2019, 10:12
- Georgian patriarch hopes for German president to facilitate settlement of Transcaucasia's crises 08 October 2019, 10:07
- Patriarch Kirill congratulates Western Europe's 'Russian exarchate' on rejoining Russian Orthodox Church 08 October 2019, 10:03
- Russian Exarchate to keep financial independence, traditions within Russian Orthodox Church 08 October 2019, 10:00
- Russian Orthodox Church Synod includes in it former Constantinople 'Russian exarchate' (updated) 07 October 2019, 15:46
- FJCR announcing two new synagogues in Crimea 04 October 2019, 10:00
- The Maronite Patriarchate denies it has recognized the OCU 04 October 2019, 10:00
- Bashkir hunter shot the priest taking him for a bear 03 October 2019, 11:57
- Chasids leave Uman 02 October 2019, 20:15
- Russian religious donators give Syria school worth $300,000 30 September 2019, 15:57
- The Russian Orthodox Church official believes Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia are persecuted for extremism, not faith 30 September 2019, 13:57
- Adult adopted children of arrested Orenburg priest don't believe accusations against him 30 September 2019, 13:27
- Belarusian Orthodox Church doesn't need autocephaly - church head 30 September 2019, 11:57
- Russian Church welcomes the news about reunion with "Russia exarchate" clerics 30 September 2019, 10:37
- Putin greets Russian Jews on Rosh Hashanah 30 September 2019, 10:30
- Absolute majority of Russian Exarchate clerics in Europe join Moscow Patriarchate 28 September 2019, 19:42
- Russian Orthodox Church calls on media to refrain from labeling Archpriest Stremsky as pedophile before court ruling 27 September 2019, 16:51
- Defense lawyers for Orenburg priest charged with child sexual abuse appeal his arrest 27 September 2019, 16:03
- About ten priests came to the court to vouch for a person involved in Moscow case 27 September 2019, 11:41
- Gay couple from Russia, who are witnesses in case involving children they adopted, seeking asylum in U.S 26 September 2019, 19:58