In the case of Kimlya and Others v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:Christos Rozakis,
Sverre Erik Jebens,
,Having deliberated in private on 10 September 2009,Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in two applications (nos. 76836/01 and 32782/03) against the Russian Federationlodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights andFundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by two Russian nationals, Mr Yevgeniy Nikolayevich Kimlya andMr Aidar Rustemovich Sultanov (“the first and second applicants”), and a Russian religious group, theChurch of Scientology of Nizhnekamsk (“the applicant church”), on 17 August 2001 and 2 October 2003respectively.2. The applicants were represented before the Court by Mr P. Hodkin, a lawyer practising in EastGrinstead, United Kingdom, and also by Ms G. Krylova and Mr M. Kuzmichev, lawyers practising inMoscow. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr P. Laptev, former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.3. The applicants complained, in particular, about the domestic authorities' decisions refusing Stateregistration of the applicants' religious groups as legal entities.4. By a decision of 9 June 2005 the Court decided to join the applications and declared them partlyadmissible.5. The Government, but not the applicants, filed observations on the merits (Rule 59 § 1).
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE6. The first applicant, Mr Kimlya, was born in 1977 and lives in Surgut in the Khanty-Mansi AutonomousRegion. He is the president of the Church of Scientology of Surgut City.7. The second applicant, Mr Sultanov, was born in 1965 and lives in Nizhnekamsk in the TatarstanRepublic. He is a co-founder and member of the Church of Scientology of Nizhnekamsk, a religious groupwithout legal entity status, who is the third applicant.
A. Attempted registration of the Church of Scientology of Surgut
8. In 1994 the first centre for the study of Dianetics (the creed of the Church of Scientology) opened inSurgut and obtained State registration as a social non-governmental organisation under the name of “SurgutHumanitarian Dianetics Centre”.9. In 1995 a new Russian law on non-governmental associations was enacted. It required all
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