Detention of St. Petersburg Church of Scientology executive upheld

St. Petersburg – The St. Petersburg City Court had upheld the detention of Galina Shurinova, the executive director of the Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg, who stands charged with participation in an extremist organization, the Unified press service of St. Petersburg courts told RAPSI on Wednesday.

Earlier this month Shurinova appealed against her detention by a lower court; however, today the St. Petersburg City Court dismissed her appeal.

Shurinova is also charged with illegal business, inciting hatred and enmity, and violation of human dignity. Law enforcement officers have seized literature banned in Russia as extremist during searches at her premises, an investigator said in court.

According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), Shurinova is the main manager of Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg, who exercises control over cash inflow. From 2013 to 2016, the organization received over 276 million rubles (about $5 million) for rendering its services. However, the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg has not been incorporated under the law, an FSB representative noted in court.

Earlier, head of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg Ivan Matsitsky, chief of the official matters department Anastasia Terentyeva and chief accountant of the religious group Sakhib Aliyev were also detained alongside Shurinova.

On June 6, the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) officers raided the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg as part of investigation into illegal business operations, incitement of hatred and enmity, and organization of an extremist community. Five members of the religious group were arrested.

Dianetics and Scientology are a set of religious and philosophical ideas and practices that were put forth by L. Ron Hubbard in the US in the early 1950s.

The scientific community never recognized it as science.

A resolution passed in 1996 by the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, classified the Church of Scientology as a destructive religious organization.

The Moscow Regional Court ruled in 2012 that some of Hubbard’s books be included on the Federal List of Extremist Literature and prohibited from distribution in Russia.