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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

05/23/1997

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Court Says Church Didn't Libel Cults

In a landmark case that pitted rapidly growing religious cults against the Russian Orthodox Church, a Moscow judge has ruled against plaintiffs who said the church libeled them in a brochure warning of the dangers of ""totalitarian sects."" The seven-week trial was a battle between proponents of two conflicting rights -- freedom of information and freedom of conscience -- and included testimony from cult experts from around the world. At issue was a brochure by Alexander Dvorkin of the Orthodox Church's educational department that warned of the dangers of ""totalitarian sects,"" including the Church of Scientology, the Unification Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, the White Brotherhood and Hare Krishna. He was sued by the Public Committee to Protect Freedom of Conscience, led by former dissident priest Gleb Yakunin.

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