Translation of a Russian article posted on August 20, 2013 on the website of RAPSI (Russian Agency for Legal and Judicial Information):
Court affirms legality of notices issued to the Church of Scientology of Moscow
The Moscow City Court today affirmed the legality of notices issued by the Justice Ministry to the Church of Scientology of Moscow for issues related to charter violations, trademarks, and the name given to assemblies of its members.
The ministry's first complaint concerned the church's registration as a religious organization, even though Scientology is not a religion, but a registered trademark. "The Justice Ministry's Expert Council for State Religious Expertise did not recognize the religious nature of this organization's activities," said the ministry's attorney during the hearing.
The Justice Ministry also found a violation in the fact that the general assembly of members was called a "participants meeting" to avoid using the term "members." In addition, the Church of Scientology of Moscow was paying rent to Scientologists in St. Petersburg, even though, by law, it cannot reach beyond the territorial limits in which it operates, even if it were a charity.
The ministry also contends that the church must re-register its 1994 charter. The appellant explained that the re-registration documents had been filed eleven times, but the ministry refused to accept them each time.
"In this process, legal casuistry is being marshalled against freedom of speech," said Galina Krylova, one of the appellant's lawyers, asserting that the Justice Ministry is abusing the rights granted by law. "I understand that, for Russia, Scientology is unusual, unfamiliar, and perhaps even unpopular, but the state entrusts the Justice Ministry to protect freedom of conscience," she said.
The Church of Scientology's attorneys pointed out that many religious organizations, for example the Seventh-Day Adventists or the Franciscans, are registered as a trademark, but this does not prevent them from being recognized as specifically religious associations.
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