Russian court rules against Church of Scientology, orders Moscow branch dissolved

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A Russian court has ordered the Church of Scientology in Moscow to be dissolved.

The Moscow City Court on Monday accepted arguments from the Justice Ministry that the term Scientology is trademarked and thus cannot be considered a religious organization covered by the constitution's freedom-of-religion clause.

Prosecutors also said the church carried out activities in St. Petersburg, though it was only authorized to operate in Moscow, according to the Tass news agency.

Several books by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard are banned in Russia for "extremist" content.

A church representative said the decision would be appealed, Russian news agencies reported.