All news

Court authorizes arrest of accounting official at Scientology Church of St. Petersburg

Earlier, the court authorized arrest of the chief of church’s department for official issues Anastasia Terentyeva

St PETERSBURG, June 7. /TASS/. A district court in St. Petersburg has authorized arrest of the second individual involved in the case for the religious grouping that calls itself the Scientology Church of St. Petersburg, Darya Lebedeva, the secretary of the city court said.

The case was instituted over the illegal business operations and extremist activity of the grouping.

"Nevsky district court in St. Petersburg passed a resolution on appointing custody for S.Ya. Aliyev (…) through to August 5," Lebedeva said.

Investigators say Aliev is the chief accountant of the scientology organization. Earlier, the court authorized arrest of the chief of church’s department for official issues, Anastasia Terentyeva.

In all, it received materials featuring five members of the group. Decisions on other individuals will be taken on Thursday.

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 it as science.

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.