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Defendant in St Petersburg Church of Scientology case released from jail

The court placed Galina Shurinova under house arrest until October 3

ST. PETERSBURG, August 4. /TASS/. St. Petersburg’s Nevsky District Court has ordered to release under house arrest one of the defendants in the case of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg, the unified press service of the city’s judicial system said on Friday.

"The court has refused to satisfy the investigator’s motion of extending remand in custody for Galina Shurinova," the press release said. "The court placed her under house arrest until October 3."

On Thursday, the court extended detention for three suspects in the case - Ivan Matsitsky, Anastasia Terentyeva, Sahib Aliev. Konstantsia Yesaulkina’s house arrest was extended as well.

Members of the St. Petersburg branch of the Church of Scientology are charged with illegally running paid training courses and programs. The trainings are estimated to bring revenues of more than 276 million rubles ($4.589 mln).

On June 6, the suspects were detained and officers of the Russian Security Service (FSB) regional branch searched the locations linked to the Church of Scientology in the country’s second-largest city. The criminal case against the church was launched under the Criminal Code’s articles of illegal business activities, incitement of hatred or hostility, organization of an extremist group.

Books and documents recognized as extremist in Russia were seized from the church members.

Scientology is a system of religious and philosophical beliefs and practices developed by American author Lafayette Ronald Hubbard in early 1950s in the United States. Russia has recognized some scientology materials as extremist and blacklisted them, banning their production, distribution and storage for mass distribution in the country.