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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Arap Saga Continues: Now She Has Proof

From BBC Monitoring, by way of Industry Watch:

Text of report by Russian news agency Interfax

Moscow, 13 August: Having examined the United Civil Front [UCF] activist, Larisa Arap, the president of the Independent Psychiatric Association, Yuriy Savenko, made a conclusion that she had been put in a psychiatric clinic illegally.

"The story is much more complicated than 'yes' and 'no' but this very case - though it has no direct relation to politics - testifies that punitive medicine is still alive. And Larisa Arap has been put in a clinic by force, rudely, and without any grounds," Yuriy Savenko told Interfax on Monday [13 August]. "This style which is typical of the Soviet times - to protect the state and not the person - is used by inertia," the psychiatrist added.

He said that now he is writing a report on the examination which he will submit to Russian Human Rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, who had asked him to conduct the examination, either on Monday night or on Tuesday.

Larisa Arap was forcibly admitted to a psychiatric clinic on 5 July. Her UCF colleagues believe that this happened because of her public and political activity. In particular, the UCF paid attention to the fact that Larisa Arap was hospitalized soon after her article "Madhouse", in which she described harsh treatment applied to children and teenagers in Murmansk Region's psychiatric clinic, had been published in the Dissenters March newspaper.

Here's the Telgraph's take on the situation (click the link in the second paragraph to read their extended coverage; click here to read our translation from the Russian press, published yesterday):

One of the nastier manifestations of the culture of spin for which the Blair administration became notorious was its tendency to brief against its dissidents (informally, of course) by casting doubt on their mental health. Clare Short and the late Mo Mowlam were both subjected to the slur, and we were even told that Gordon Brown was "psychologically flawed". Distasteful as these slanders were, however, they could do little harm while Britain retained an accountable executive and a psychiatric profession of unimpeachable probity.

Things are different in modern Russia, where, as we report in horrifying detail today, it takes only modest influence to secure the incarceration and chemical torture of a business rival, wealthy relative or prosecution witness, and where the sectioning of citizens hostile to the Kremlin seems set to become once more a fact of political life. That Vladimir Putin is still treated by civilised nations, especially those of the G8, as the president of a democracy is an indictment of their cowardice, for since he came to power Russia has again become a corrupt dictatorship, barely distinguishable from the Soviet Union under Khrushchev.

Germany's dependency on Russian energy, combined with the timidity of some of its neighbours, has helped smother European protests at Putin's behaviour. So the sea-bed under the North Pole now ludicrously bears a Russian flag, and aerial sparring with Nato, abandoned after the Cold War, has been resumed. In its firm diplomatic response to Russian arrogance over the Litvinenko murder, the British Government has hinted that it is prepared to stand up to a man whose influence will undoubtedly persist long after he formally leaves office next year.

But other countries must follow, before any more of them become enslaved to the need for Russian gas. The alternative would indeed be madness.

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