[JURIST] A Russian Court on Monday banned the Moscow branch of the Church of Scientology. The court banned the church [RT report] stating that it does not comply with federal laws on freedom of religion because ‘Scientology’ is a US trademark. This is the latest in a series of battles between the Russian government and US-based organizations. The church plans to appeal the decision to Russia’s Supreme court. The European Court of Human rights (ECHR) has ruled [text] in favor of the church on several occasions, stating the Russia’s refusal to recognize the church as a religion violated its rights.
In 2011 Russia banned the main texts [JURIST report] of Scientology. In 2009 the ECHR found that Russia discriminated against the Church of Scientology by barring their attempts to re-register as an organized religion [JURIST report]. In 2008 the German government ended an investigation [JURIST report] into the practices of the Church of Scientology. While the government’s investigation into Scientology ceased, the organization was under surveillance by domestic intelligence services [AP report]. Earlier a Scientology center in France faced criminal charges [JURIST report] in connection with allegations of fraud and the illegal practice of pharmacy. That same year Belgian prosecutor Jean-Claude Van Espen said Scientology should be classified as a criminal organization [JURIST report] after completing a 10-year investigation into the church’s activities.