Landmark Church of Scientology of Moscow Decision In European Court of Human Rights Now Final

Confirmation of Scientology’s Religious Bona Fides by the Highest Court in Europe.

The unanimous decision by the European Court of Human Rights in favor of the Church of Scientology of Moscow issued on April 5, has now become final. That decision overturned the Moscow City government’s refusal to register the Church of Scientology of Moscow as a religious organization.

With the Russian government’s failure to appeal the decision, it is now a precedent-setting ruling that helps guarantee the freedom of religion and right of association for Scientologists and people of all faiths throughout the forty-seven nations that comprise the Council of Europe.

The Court found that "in denying registration to the Church of Scientology of Moscow, the Moscow authorities did not act in good faith and neglected their duty of neutrality and impartiality vis-à-vis the applicant’s religious community. In the light of the foregoing, the Court considers that the interference with the applicant’s right to freedom of religion and association was not justified. There has therefore been a violation of Article 11 of the Convention read in the light of Article 9."

Elena Saycheva, spokesperson of the Church of Scientology of Moscow, praised the Court’s ruling saying, "This decision not only confirms the rights Churches of Scientology, but also sets another important precedent to protect the rights of all other religious communities in Europe."

Russian Scientology Churches in St. Petersburg, Surgut, and Nizhnekamsk, also have cases pending in the European Court of Human Rights for similar discriminatory harassment concerning their registration.

The Scientology religion was founded by L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church was established in the United States in 1954. By 2007 it has grown to more than 7,500 Churches, Missions and groups and ten million members in 163 nations. The Russian Federation has more than 40 Scientology Churches and Missions from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok.

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