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Church of Scientology of Moscow: Decision In European Court of Human Rights Now Law

The landmark European Court of Human Rights decision affirming the religious rights of Scientologists throughout Europe has now become law. The court denied the Russian government’s application for review of its April 5 decision in favor of the Church of Scientology of Moscow. That decision overturned the Moscow City government’s refusal to register the Church of Scientology of Moscow as a religious organization.

With the decision becoming final, 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 47 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-a-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 of 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. As of 2007 it has grown to more than 7,500 Churches, Missions and groups in 163 nations. The Russian Federation has more than 40 Scientology Churches and Missions from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok.