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ECHR refuses to review Church of Scientology win against Russia

Original article on Rapsi news: 
http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20150218/273191703.html

MOSCOW, February 18 (RAPSI) - European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) has refused to review an appeal filed by Russian Federation over the ECHR decision in favor of unregistered Church of Scientology over the refusal of St. Petersburg authorities to officially recognize it as a legal entity, says the court ruling made public on Wednesday.
 

According to the ruling, the application was filed by Church of Scientology in St. Petersburg, which was formed by a group of individuals gathered together for research of Scientology. The first group was formed in St. Petersburg in 1984, which in the late 80’s splintered into two organizations, one of which was headed by Galina Shurinova (one of the six applicants).
 

The present application concerned the refusal of St. Petersburg authorities to acknowledge it as a legal entity. The group applied for registration six times, from March 1995 to August 2003.
 

The first application was filed by Shurinova with other nine founders of the St. Petersburg Church of Mission of Scientology in March 1995. Upon receiving no answer over the course of two years, Shurinova demanded an explanation from the authorities. Russian Justice Ministry informed her, that the application was transferred to a State Duma committee, to be evaluated by an expert in religious and legal matters. Following lack of response, the application was shelved.
 

In February 2002, a new registration request was filed, which was rejected in March of the same year, citing discrepancies in required paperwork. Scientologists filed four more registration requests, which were all subsequently turned down under a number of reasons. In the last rejection in August of 2003, the St. Petersburg authorities stated that the documents proving that the group was active for the last 15 years (time period necessary to register a new religious organization), were fraudulent.
 

The Scientologist turned to a district court in St. Petersburg, which declared the rejections legal in October 2003, and was supported by an appeals court in 2006.
 

The applicants turned to ECHR in November 2006. Citing article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion), and article 11 Article ( the right to freedom of assembly and association), the applicants contested in their opinion unlawful rejections to register the Church of Scientology as a legal entity.
 

The Russian response confirmed that the rejections were in violation of freedom of religion, pointing out that the decision in the case was based on the Russian law and security reasons. Russia further pointed to similar cases reviewed by the ECHR concerning UK and Austria.
 

The ECHR upon reviewing the application, ruled in favor of Scientologists, awarding them 7,500 EUR as moral damages compensation.
 

Russia requested that case be referred to the Grand Chamber the Grand Chamber of ECHR. However, Grand Chamber refused to review an appeal. Therefore the Court ruling came into effect.


Read original: http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20150218/273191703.html


Rédigé par EIFRF le Friday, February 20th 2015 | Comments (0)

Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol afviser appel af Scientologi Kirkens sejr over Rusland
MOSKVA, den 18. februar (RAPSI) - Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol har afvist at behandle en appel indgivet af Den Russiske Føderation af domstolens afgørelse til fordel for den ikke-registrerede Scientologi Kirke vedrørende St. Petersborgs myndigheders afvisning af officielt at anerkende den som en juridisk enhed, fremgår det af den domsafsigelse, der blev offentliggjort onsdag.
  
Ifølge afgørelsen blev ansøgningen indgivet af Scientologi Kirken i St. Petersborg, der blev dannet af en persongruppe, der samledes for at forske i Scientologi. Den første gruppe blev dannet i St. Petersborg i 1984. Den delte sig i slutningen af 80'erne i to organisationer, hvor den ene blev ledet af Galina Shurinova (en af de seks ansøgere).
  
Den nuværende ansøgning vedrørte et afslag fra St. Petersborgs myndigheder på at anerkende den som en juridisk enhed. Gruppen ansøgte om registrering seks gange fra marts 1995 til august 2003.
  
Den første ansøgning blev indgivet af Shurinova sammen med ni andre grundlæggere af St. Petersborgs Scientologi Missionskirke i marts 1995. Da de ikke havde modtaget noget svar i løbet efter to år, krævede Shurinova en forklaring fra myndighederne. Det russisk justitsministerium informeret hende om, at ansøgningen var overdraget til et udvalg i Statsdumaen for at blive behandlet af en ekspert i religiøse og juridiske forhold. Da der ikke kom noget svar, blev ansøgningen lagt på hylden.
  
I februar 2002 blev der indgivet en ny ansøgning om registrering. Den blev afvist i marts samme år, med henvisning til uoverensstemmelser i det krævede papirarbejde. Scientologerne indgav fire yderlige ansøgninger, der alle efterfølgende blev afslået med forskellige begrundelser. I den sidste afvisning fra august 2003, hævdede myndighederne i St. Petersborg, at de dokumenter, der beviste, at gruppen havde været aktiv de sidste 15 år (den krævede tidsperiode for at registrere en ny religiøs organisation) var svigagtige.

Scientologen henvendte sig til en lokal domstol i St. Petersborg, der erklærede, at de juridiske afslag var gyldige i oktober 2003, hvilket blev stadfæstet i en appeldomstol i 2006.
  
Ansøgerne henvendte sig til Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol i november 2006. Med henvisning til artikel 9 i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention (retten til at tænke frit og til samvittigheds- og religionsfrihed), artikel 11 (retten til frit at deltage i fredelige forsamlinger og til foreningsfrihed), anfægtede sagsøgerne de efter deres opfattelse ulovlige afslag på at registrere Scientologi Kirken som en juridisk enhed.
  
Det russiske svar bekræftede, at afslagene var i strid med religionsfriheden, idet det blev påpeget, at afgørelsen i sagen var baseret på den russiske lov og sikkerhedsmæssige begrundelser. Rusland henviste endvidere til lignende sager, der blev behandlet af Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol i forbindelse med Storbritannien og Østrig.
  
Efter at have gennemgået ansøgningen gav Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol scientologerne medhold og tildelte dem 7.500 euro i tortserstatning.
  
Rusland anmodede om, at sagen blev henvist til Storkammeret i Den Europæiske Menneskerettighedsdomstol, men Storkammeret afviste at behandle apellen. Domstolens afgørelse blev således stadfæstet.

Læs den originale artikel her: http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20150218/273191703.html

Rédigé par EIFRF le Friday, February 20th 2015 | Comments (0)

Romanian court completely acquits the 21 people from MISA yoga school accused of human trafficking

After more than 10 years, the Romanian court completely acquitted the 21 people from MISA yoga school, accused of human trafficking.  For ten years, the media has continued a witch hunt on MISA yoga school, who is now fully acquitted of all accusations. The decision found much of the evidence put forth by the prosecution to be unfounded or illegal. Again we face a large scale fake-trial against a spiritual movement, with grave violations of the fundamental rights of thousands of yoga practitioners.

The trial was part of the internationally questioned Romanian campaign against the MISA yoga school. The campaign started in 2004 with the largest police action in post-communist Romanian history. Under the pretext of national security, 300 armed gendarmes raided 16 private houses belonging to yogis. The yoga school was accused of paramilitary activity and the attack was conducted under the code name „Operation Christ”. The raid was filmed and leaked to the media the same day. The images and reports triggered international criticism among European politicians and human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and The Romanian Helsinki Commission APADOR-CH. The Danish Member of European Parliament at that time, Mrs Ulla Sandbaek, advised the leader of the yoga school to immediately flee the persecutions and ask for asylum in Sweden. The Swedish Supreme Court found him innocent and gave him asylum, being persecuted due to his religious beliefs.

For a decade the persecutions continued in Romania against Mr Bivolaru and his students, with long trials based on false accusations, media and social stigmatization of tens of thousands of yogis. Finally the accusations have now been dropped and Romania must aim to heal the wounds caused by the on-going marginalization of a major religious minority. 

The political scientist, human rights activist and founder of APADOR-CH Mr Gabriel Andreescu has written two books on the on-going persecution of the Romanian yoga school. He states that there will not be any human rights in Romania until the persecution is stopped, and that the victims must be compensated.

Most of the trials initiated in the persecutions of 2004 have ended in full acquittal. So far no compensation has been discussed. Unfortunately the trial against Mr Bivolaru took a much critiqued turn as he, after being acquitted in first and second instance, was convicted to six years imprisonment in absentia. As Romania is today part of the European Union and Mr Bivolaru received asylum in Sweden because of precisely these persecutions, the conviction followed by a European Arrest Warrant has triggered a unique and highly disturbing situation, where a refugee is both protected and persecuted within for the same accusations within one and the same judicial system. 

It is not unusual for spiritual schools to be falsely accused of human trafficking. At the OSCE HDIM 2014 Soteria International highlighted this problem both in Germany (Deutche Academie fur Traditionelles Yoga) and Italy (Ananda Assisi).  Ananda Assisi is a Yoga organization which over 2002 - 2009 was the subject of such a judicial inquiry, facing accusations of being a sect which “enslaved” people by forcing them to work without being paid, and other accusations including the premise that Ananda was a “pseudo-religion”. People were harassed and came under social pressure, were taken to court and eventually imprisoned. After more years of investigation, the judge dismissed the case. Also here the European Union face a major question mark: why do these false accusations continue to surface regarding minor religious or spiritual movements, such as the Romanian yoga school MISA.

The Acquittal of MISA yoga school in the court trial from Cluj is available on this link: http://portal.just.ro/117/SitePages/Dosar.aspx?id_dosar=11700000000035595&id_inst=117

Here is the English translation:


Rédigé par Soteria International le Friday, February 20th 2015 | Comments (0)

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