Russia bans Scientology literature

MOSCOW, April 22 (UPI) -- Russia is adding the works of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to its list of extremist literature, the Russian attorney general's office says.

The Prosecutor General's Office said Wednesday Scientology materials qualify as "undermining the traditional spiritual values of the citizens of the Russian Federation," The Moscow Times reported. People found holding extremist materials can be held for up to 15 days or fined $100.


The issue had been initiated by transport prosecutors in the Siberian city of Surgut and Khanty-Mansiysk customs officers, the newspaper said.

Prosecutors said they obtained 28 works by Hubbard, including books and audio and video recordings, sent to residents of Surgut from the United States. The prosecutors said "psychiatrists, psychologists and sociologists" who reviewed the materials determined they should not be distributed in Russia.

The prosecutors said in a statement the seized works contained "ideas justifying violence in general and in particular any means of opposing critics of Scientology. The works, they said, "have clear as well as hidden calls for social and religious hatred" and call for hindering state goals.

The newspaper said the Church of Scientology, based in Los Angeles, did not reply to an e-mail message seeking comment.


Last year the European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Scientology's branches in Surgut and Nizhnekamsk, which had sued Russia for refusing to list them as religious organizations because they had not existed in the country for 15 years.

The Times noted several European governments do not recognize Scientology as a religion and Germany has ruled it is a commercial enterprise.

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