Russia: Alleged forced psychiatric internment

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) has been informed by a reliable source of the alleged forced psychiatric internment of Mr Artyom Basyrov, a 30-year-old student of the History Faculty of the Pedagogical Institute and reportedly actively involved in the activities of The Other Russia opposition coalition in Russia’s Republic of Mari El. The OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the situation!

According to the information received, on 23 November 2007, at around 01:30 pm, two young men in civilian clothes stopped Mr Artyom Basyrov on his way home in Yoshkar-Ola, capital of Mari El. They reportedly asked him whether he was registered on the books of the psychoneurological centre, which he would have confirmed. (Mr Basyrov reportedly suffered from depression a year and a half ago and was recommended to undergo psychiatric treatment.) The two men then allegedly put him into their car and drove him to Yoshkar-Ola’s psychoneurological centre without showing any documents or IDs.

According to the same information, the administration of the hospital is denying any family visits to Mr Basyrov and refuses to give any information as to the reasons of his detention in the hospital. According to his relatives, authorities have no grounds to intern him by force. Furthermore, his relatives were reportedly not informed about his detention and enforced treatment. Mr Basyrov reportedly managed to reach his brother once at the centre but was then transferred to a specialised clinic located outside the town. A medical commission was reportedly held on 26 November 2007, while it should have been held within 48 hours. The commission allegedly decided that Mr Basyrov would have to be subjected to enforced treatment due to symptoms that were developing. A local court reportedly upheld this decision on 27 November 2007.

On 6 December 2007, Mr Basyrov’s lawyer reportedly managed to visit him at the hospital. Mr Basyrov reportedly strongly objected being held in the hospital and was already under strong medication. His lawyer tried to inquire with the chief of the hospital department why Mr Basyrov’s brother is being denied access and informed the doctor of the intention to appeal his enforced treatment. Apparently, the doctor said that he “expressed doubts that the lawyer would manage to change the course of events”. According to the doctor, the only reason why his brother could not see Mr Basyrov is because he was still in the admission department of the hospital and that his situation was currently being reviewed. He reportedly informed that Mr Basyrov’s brother would be allowed to meet with him after his transfer to the main department.

Mr Basyrov’s lawyer has reportedly appealed the court ruling upholding Mr Basyrov’s enforced treatment before the Supreme Court of the Republic of Mari El but the date of the hearing has not been fixed yet.

There are fears that the forced psychiatric interment of Mr Basyrov is politically motivated. According to the same information, on 14 November 2007, along with another Other Russia supporter, Mr Mikhail Kluzhev, they sent a notification to the city administration to hold a march of the dissent in Yoshkar-Ola. The following day, they reportedly received a negative response from the administration. They also received an official warning signed by the Chief of the Ministry of the Interior, Mr Morozov, not to hold illegal rallies in Yoshkar-Ola on 24 November 2007, after which they decided not to hold the march. According to the same information, on 22 November 2007, Mr Kluzhev was assaulted when he was coming home from work. The assaulters reportedly vanished but the police allegedly turned up immediately and detained Mr Kluzhev. He was then reportedly sentenced to three days in administrative detention.

The international Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Mr Artyom Basyrov and about his forced psychiatric internment as it seems politically motivated. OMCT calls on the authorities to immediately release him and order a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into these events.

Action requested

Please write to the authorities in Russia urging them to:

1. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Artyom Basyrov;
2. Order his immediate release;
3. Order a thorough and impartial investigation into these events, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them to trial and apply the civil, penal and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;
4. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.


* Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation, Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Faxes:+ 7 095 206 5173 / 230 2408, Email:;
* Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Ustinov, 103793 g. Moskva K-31, Ul. B. Dimitrovka, d 15a, Russian Federation, Fax: + 7 095 292 88 48;
* Chairwoman of the Presidential Human Rights Commission of the Russian Federation, Ella Pamfilova, 103132 g. Moskva, Staraya ploshchad, d 8/5,pod 3, Russian Federation, Fax:+70952064855;
* Vladimir Lukin, Russian Federal Ombudsman for Human Rights, Fax: +7 495 207-53-37;
* Minister of Internal Affairs, Rashid Nurgaliev, ul. Zhitnaya, 16, 117049 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Rossiia, 117049, Moskva, Fax: + 7 095 237 49 25;
* Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, Smolenskaya-Sennaya pl, 32/34, 121200 Moscow, Russian Federation, Telegram: Fax:+ 7 095 244 2203;
* Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in Geneva Av. de la Paix 15, CH-1211, Geneva 20, Switzerland, e-mail :, fax: +4122 734 40 44;
* Embassy of the Russian Federation in Brussels, 31-33 boulevard du Régent, 1000 Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 513 76 49.

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Russia in your respective countries.


Geneva, 12 December 2007

Kindly inform OMCT of any action undertaken quoting the code number [Case RUS 121207] of this appeal in your reply.

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

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