Psychiatry as an Enforcement Arm of Governments

Just in case you thought that the use of psychiatry by governments to suppress and quieten troublesome minorities is a curse of western societies only, then think again.  It is good to see Amnesty looking into the area where human rights violation are at their most egregious.  For all their good work in other areas Psychiatry is an area that Amnesty has largely chosen to ignore in the past.

Full article at:

Russia: Woman detained in psychiatric hospital for promoting ‘happiness’

Posted: 28 February 2010

Amnesty International has issued an “urgent action” appeal calling for the release of a Russian activist after she was forcibly detained in a psychiatric hospital in connection with her activities promoting “happiness” in the country.

On 19 February, Yulia Privedennaia, a leading member of an organisation called FAKEL-PORTOS (the Formation of Altruistic Candidates for the Evolution of People – Poeticised Association for the Elaboration of a Theory of All-People’s Happiness), was sent to the Moscow Serbskii Institute for a period of at least 30 days on the orders of a Moscow court.

She is on trial before the Moscow Regional Court for her alleged part in the beating of teenage members of the group, for detaining group members at the organisation’s premises and, say the prosecution, for creating an illegal armed group. However, the supposed victims of the alleged beating have withdrawn statements in court, maintaining that the police had pressured them into giving them to incriminate FAKEL-PORTOS’ leaders.

There is a past pattern of official harassment of the group and Amnesty believes Yulia Privedennaia is being detained solely for exercising her rights to free expression and association.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“If this wasn’t so serious, you could almost see the funny side of the Russian authorities detaining someone for promoting ‘happiness’.

“As it is, the forced hospitalisation of Yulia Privedennaia has a sinister, Soviet-era quality. She should be released immediately.” …..

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