Friday, 24 August 2007

You are mad if they don't like what you say

Russia: a neo-KGB state

Declaring dissidents to be mad and locking them up was a peculiarly Soviet tradition, says the Moscow weekly Profil, so it's appalling to find that such sinister practices are still going on.

Three years ago, a journalist called Larisa Arap gave a press interview describing abuses she'd witnessed in a psychiatric hospital near Murmansk. Medical staff, she claimed, would force children to "kiss their feet" and would apply electric shocks if they resisted. Some inmates, said Arap, weren't ill at all: one woman had been declared insane merely so her family could get their hands on her house; another was sectioned after accusing a teacher of abusing her daughter. Afraid of scandal, the school head lobbied to have her put away.

Arap received no feedback about these charges until earlier this year when she went for a routine medical check-up [to get a driving license]: recognising her name as that of a troublemaker, the doctor promptly sectioned her; she is now being "treated" by the very medics she criticised three years ago. Those who lobbied for her release say that doctors have threatened to "arrange things" for them too. The communists may have gone but "punitive psychiatry" is still very much with us.

*source: The Week magazine

Telegraph also run details of this horrific story.

P.S. Larisa Arap is a member of the United Civil Front - the opposition party of Garry Kasparov, ex-chess champion. She has been "discharged" few days ago.

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