Name: Konstancia Esaulkova
Country/Area of Origin: St. Petersburg, Russia
Background: Legal Officer of the Scientology religious group in St. Petersburg, born in 1970. She has been volunteering with the St. Petersburg Scientology religious group since 2006. She is a single mother and supports her daughter.
Reason for Arrest:
On June 6, 2017, FSB police and SWAT teams raided the Scientology religious group in St. Petersburg and arrested several people including Konstancia. Her house was also raided. She was charged with “running a business without a license” after the Russian Government refused to register the St. Petersburg Church as a religious organization, despite being ordered to do so by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Konstancia has also been charged with publicly violated the honor and dignity of an individual. The individual she supposedly violated the dignity of denies the charge and even offered to bail her out of jail.
Her attorneys have filed appeals contesting the pretrial detention on the grounds that her detention constituted arbitrary deprivation of liberty in violation of Article 5 of the European Human Rights Convention, as well as violations of the right to freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of association under Articles 9, 10 and 11 of the Convention.
Konstancia was originally placed under house arrest in order to take care of her daughter. House arrest however is very limited with no internet, phone calls, or visits allowed without prior permission from the government.
If convicted, she faces 6-10 years in prison for practicing her religious beliefs.
- On 12 February 2020, a small court in St. Petersburg has agreed to try the case involving Konstancia Esaulkova and four other Scientologists for “organization of an extremist society, incitement of hatred or enmity, violation of human dignity, and illegal business operations.”