2007-07-13 10:03:00

St. Petersburg court shuts down Scientology Center

St. Petersburg, July 13, Interfax - The St. Petersburg City Court has closed down the city's Scientology Center, accusing it of offenses such as unlicensed teaching and other activities not stated in its charter, the city prosecutor's office said.

Scientology, officially called the Church of Scientology, is a religion started in the 1950s by U.S. writer L. Ron Hubbard and seeking to solve its members' problems in life and to improve their ability for achievement.

"According to the charter of the Scientologist Center, the objective of the organization is propaganda of the philosophical ideas and teachings of L. Ron Hubbard as guidance for a human being in life. However, propaganda of Hubbard's ideas and teachings was in effect supplanted by unlicensed educational activities that were conducted on a paid basis and fell outside the law of the Russian Federation 'On Education'," the prosecutor's office told Interfax.

Moreover, the Center was engaging in "auditing" and "purification," activities that its charter did not prescribe and that meant putting Hubbard's ideas into practice rather than propagandizing them. It advertised those practices as healthcare services without holding a license for them, the office said.

The Center had provided unlicensed consultant services on professional proficiency and ran tests to find out people's personal characteristics. The results of the tests were used in enrolling new members into the organization, the office said.

The Center was accused of other offenses as well.

The court ruling was a response to a suit from the city prosecutor and was said to have followed inspections by the Justice Ministry.