Psychiatric care must not be used as a political weapon!

Finnish-Russian Civic Forum:
Psychiatric care must not be used as a political weapon!

20.12.2007

Forced psychiatric care seems to have reappeared as a means to silence political opposition in Russia. Psychiatric care used as a tool for political pressure can be regarded as a form of torture.

In July this year, Larisa Arap, a member of the Murmansk branch of the opposition party, United Civic Front, was forcibly interned at the psychiatric hospital in the town of Apatity after she published details about abuses by the hospital staff in an opposition paper.

In the latest case, Artyom Basyrov, activist of the Other Russia opposition movement, was taken into forced psychiatric care in Yoshkar-Ola, capital of the Republic of Mari El, on 23 November 2007, just a day before a planned opposition rally. Basyrov was one of the organisers of the rally.

Basyrov was apprehended by two men in civilian clothes, who did not present any identification, nor did they indicate the authority that they represented. The men claimed Basyrov had “harassed young women in another part of the town”, and took him forcibly to a psychiatric clinic.

Basyrov’s family and friends have been unable to meet him. According to Basyrov’s lawyer, Basyrov is under heavy sedation and is therefore unable to recount the exact details of his detention.

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum demands that the authorities in the Russian Federation will order Artyom Basyrov’s immediate release and end all forced psychiatric and physical measures taken against him.

Moreover, the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum calls on the authorities in the Russian Federation and the Republic of Mari El to conduct an independent investigation into the events that led to Basyrov’s detention.

Russian authorities should safeguard the human and basic rights of all its citizens as guaranteed in national legislation and the international agreements ratified by the Russian Federation.

Heidi Hautala
Chairperson,
Finnish-Russian Civic Forum
+358 50 511 3129

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum was established by a group of people worried about the development of democracy and human rights in Russia. The organisation strives to promote cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech in Russia.

Finnish-Russian Civic Forum
http://www.finrosforum.fi/.

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