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Court arrests first individual involved in case for St. Petersburg Church of Scientology

The case was instituted over the group’s illegal business operations and extremism

St PETERSBURG, June 7. /TASS/. A district court in St Petersburg on Wednesday put to custody Anastasia Terentyeva, the first individual involved in the case of the religious group calling itself the Scientology Church of St. Petersburg, a TASS reporter said in a dispatch from the courtroom.

The case was instituted over the group’s illegal business operations and extremism.

"The court appoints a pretrial measure in the form of custody for a period of two months through to August 5," the judge said while reading out the court resolution.

According to the investigators’ information, Anastasia Terenetyeva is chief of the department for official issues in the scientologists’ organization.

In all, the Nevsky district court received materials featuring five members of the group.

Members of the Scientology Church of St. Petersburg are charged with offering illegally the scientology courses and programs for fee without appropriate registration. The commercial returns from the offer are estimated at 276 million rubles ($4.8 mln).

Also investigators established in the course of searches that books and materials authored by the founder of the sect, Lafayette Ron Hubbard that are placed on the lists of forbidden extremist literature in Russia were confiscated from members of the organization.

Investigators say in this connection the scientology organization is an extremist community after the fact.

Defenders say the Scientology Church of St. Petersburg tried to register its religious organization as a legal entity but the authorities denied registration to it.

A search was held in the offices of the group in frameworks of the case, which the authorities opened under the articles of the Criminal Code stipulating punishment for illegal entrepreneurship, incitement of hatred or enmity and organization of an extremist community.

The press service of the territorial branch of Russia’s FSB security service for St. Petersburg and Leningrad region said earlier it had identified the key personalities in the case.

Science fiction writer Lafayette Ronald Hubbard founded dianetics and scientology in the early 1950’s. The scientific community did not recognize them as sciences.

Russia has placed a number of materials proliferated by scientology adepts on the list of extremist works and the federal list of extremist materials, the storage and mass circulation of which in this country is deemed illegitimate.