On March 16, the Moscow City Court upheld the decision of the Taganski regional Court in Moscow which denied to liquidate the Moscow Branch of the Salvation Army. A year and a half ago, this same court passed a decision about the liquidation of this Protestant religious organization, which earlier had been recognized as "paramilitary" by Russian judicial authorities.
Now that liquidation no longer threatens the Salvation Army in Moscow, the Slavic Center for Law and Justice, which represents the organization's interests in court proceedings, intends to achieve a reversal of the resolutions currently in effect which have recognized this religious and charitable organization as paramilitary. The statement about the "paramilitary" character of the "Salvation Army" has now the status of a fact, established by the court, and consequently can be used in any upcoming proceedings. The existence of such decisions basically opens unlimited opportunities for the executive and judicial branches of power to rule arbitrarily against to religious associations.
Besides Russian judicial authorities, the Salvation Army puts its hope on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which in the near future will review the question of acceptability of the application filed by the organization in June of 2001. Last week the lawyers of the Slavic Center for Law and Justice filed additional observations and update on this case to the Strasbourg Court.
The Slavic Centre for Law and Justice is a non-governmental, non-profit organization, which provides legal defence of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion in Russia.
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