The European Court for Human Rights has fined Russia for refusing to register Scientology churches in the cities of Surgut and Nizhnekamsk as religious groups.Report by TV-Novosti
The Strasbourg court’s statement says the country has broken Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and must pay €10,000 for punitive damages and another €10,000 in legal costs, RIA-Novosti news agency reports.
Scientologists in Nizhnekamsk in in the Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan didn’t get their recognition in 1999 due to the so-called “rule of 15 years” included in the law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations. According to Article 9 of the act, a local religious organization may only be founded by a religious group “which has a confirmation of their existence in the territory for at least 15 years or confirmation of entry into the structure of a centralized religious organization of the same religion.”
Scientologists filed lawsuits in the European Court of Human Rights in 2001 and 2003. They claimed that the Russian authorities had violated Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of thought, conscience and religion and freedom of expression), as well as Articles 11 (freedom of assembly and association) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination).
The case against Russia was launched in 2005.
The publishers of Religion News Blog support religious freedom, but consider the Church of Scientology to be a business enterprise masquerading as a religion — and having the hallmarks of a religious cult.
In our view this cult operates with little to no regards for human rights. Even while the organization pays lip service to human rights, we believe it does so merely to further its own interests — as is the case with its ironically-named ‘Citizens Commission for Human Rights,’ a hate group that carries out a long-running hate campaign against psychiatry and psychiatrists.
Scientology’s history of hate- and harassment activities is based on the unethical ideas of founder L. Ron Hubbard — who also came up with the medical claims that, in our opinion, form the basis of Scientology’s quackery.
Scientology is currently on trial in France, and recently the St. Petersburg Times published an indepth serious of articles about former Scientologists who have provided accounts of physical or mental abuse by Scientology leader David Miscavige.
For extensive information and documentation about Scientology, see Why We Protest.