ST. PETERSBURG, October 18 (RAPSI) – Detention of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg leader Ivan Matsitsky and chief accountant of the religious group Sakhib Aliyev charged with extremism and illegal business operations on Thursday was extended until February 20, RAPSI reports from the St. Petersburg City Court.
Investigation was also extended for four months. The defendants earlier refused to study case materials.
In late March, searches were conducted at the premises of the Church of Scientology of St. Petersburg. The raids were directed to identifying more items and documents confirming the criminality of the religious organization leaders’ actions, the FSB press-service said.
According to investigators, 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 said in court earlier.
Three other defendants in the case are the organization’s executive director Galina Shurinova, chief of the official matters department Anastasia Terentyeva and her assistance Constance Yesaulkova. They have been placed under house arrest.
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.