Investigative Committee Abandons Attempt to Place Blogger who Criticized Orthodox Church in Psychiatric Hospital

Source: (info), 17/07/12

· Freedom of expression  · Freedom of conscience  · Karelia

If investigators do not take the name of Maksim Efimov off a federal wanted list, human rights defenders will appeal to the courts.

Agora Human Rights Association reports that during the repeat hearing at Petrozavodsk city court, investigator A. Voronin from Karelia’s Muezersky district Investigative Committee unexpectedly withdrew a petition to place the blogger Maksim Efimov in a psychiatric hospital as an in-patient. The lawyer acting for the civic activist and the representative of the Prosecutor’s Office supported this decision after which Petrozavodsky city court ruled that the petition was now null and void.

“We give the Investigative Committee one week to remove Efimov’s name from the wanted list (the reaon for which was Efimov’s alleged refusal to attend the hospital), we will appeal to the courts,” Ramil Akhmetgaliev, one of the lawyers acting for Efimov from Agora Human Rights Association emphasized.

At the end of June, the Supreme Court of Karelia ruled in favour of a cassation appeal by the lawyers of human rights defender Maksim Efimov against a decision by Petrozavodsk city court to place Maksim Efimov, leader of the local Youth Human Rights Group, in a psychiatric hospital as an in-patient to conduct a psychological and psychiatric assessment.

Maksim Efimov has been charged with “inciting enmity and hatred, and also debasing the dignity of a group of persons in relation to their religion” (Article 282, Section 1, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) for publishing in his blog the article “Karelia is tired of priests”.