Scientology wins Europe Rights Case

This is from an archive, 3rd of October of 2009, and it being published to set the tone of the blog.


Russian authorities had rejected registering two Scientology churches on because of legislation that required religious groups to have existed at least least 15 years in a Russian region. And they must prove that it is affiliated to a central religious organization.

Strasbourg — The European Court of Human Rights.

On Thursday the court condemned Russia for the second time in two years for refusing to register two Scientology churches as religious organizations.

The Church of Scientology was awarded moral damages of 5,000 euros (7,250 dollars).

The court ruled that the action of the authorities in Surgut in eastern Siberia and Nizhnekamsk in Tatarstan had violated articles nine and 11 of the Human Rights convention on freedom of religion and freedom of association.

Russian authorities rejected the registration of the churches in 1994 and 1998 on the basis of legislation which demands that a religious group has to have existed for at least 15 years in a Russian region and prove that it is affiliated to a central religious organisation.

“The Court noted that the question of whether Scientology could be described as a ‘religion’ was a matter of controversy among the member states,” said the ruling.

In the absence of any European consensus on the religious nature of Scientology, the court said it had “to rely on the position of the domestic authorities.”

It added: “At no point in the proceedings had it been shown that the applicants — either as individuals or as a religious group — had engaged or intended to engage in any unlawful activities or pursued any aims other than worship, teaching, practice and observance of their beliefs. The ground for refusing registration had therefore been purely formal and unconnected with their actual functioning.”

In April 2007, the court found against Russia over the refusal of authorities to register the Moscow branch of the Scientologists between 1998 and 2005.


Also see the Church of Scientology of Canberra here if you are interested in more. More Legal Related posts.

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