Sent to Psychiatric Hospital for Speaking Out Against Russian Orthodox Church

Source: HRO.org (info), 14/05/12

· Freedom of conscience  · The Courts  · Karelia

On 12 May Petrozavodsk city court ruled in favour of a request by investigators that Maksim Efimov, author of “Karelia is tired of priests” and chair of the Karelia branch of the Youth Human Rights Group, should be placed in a psychiatric hospital for examination, Olga Rybalova, the lawyer representing Maksim Efimov on behalf of Agora Human Rights Association, has said. The human rights defenders will appeal against the ruling as unlawful and without foundation.

“We shall conduct a psychological and psychiatric examination that will be independent of the city court to present to the Supreme court of Karelia,” Pavel Chikov, legal expert and chair of Agora Human Rights Association, told Open Information Agency. “The forcible placing of the human rights defender in a psychiatric hospital without reason is a definite violation of human rights. The European Court has a clear and unequivocal position in relation to the grounds on which people can be placed in psychiatric hospitals. I am concerned that we are dealing here with what is known as the repressive use of psychiatry.

The investigator in the case had asked the court to forcibly place human rights defender Maksim Efimov in a psychiatric clinic on the basis of the conclusions of a forensic psychiatric commission that found: “To establish the actual state and degree of the personality deviations of Efimov it is necessary for him to be hospitalized in a psychiatric clinic for an examination, with additional information provided to the commission in terms of references from his employer and his teachers (including postgraduate teachers), and interviews with family and friends about the specificities of his character and behaviour.”

Maksim Efimov has been charged with “inciting hatred or animosity or demeaning the dignity of a group of persons on the basis of their religious views” (Article 282 Section 1 of the Criminal Code of Russia).