Russian authorities ‘imprisoning Crimean Tatars in psychiatric hospitals’

Since annexation many ethnic Tatar activists have been detained in outdated mental institutions, rights activists say

Lawyers and human rights activists say Russian authorities in Crimea are increasingly imprisoning human rights activists in psychiatric hospitals and submitting them to psychological abuse.

Since the annexation of the region three years ago many ethnic Tatar activists who oppose the occupation have been arrested and subjected to abuse and imprisonment in outdated mental institutions, said Robert van Voren, a Dutch human rights activist and political scientist.

“The number of cases has increased considerably over the past few years, in particular against Crimean Tatars and Ukrainian activists who oppose Russia’s annexation,” he added.

Emil Kurbedinov, a prominent Crimean lawyer, said that between December and February 10 Crimean activists had been forcefully sent to a psychiatric hospital in Crimea. Four of them remained there, while the other six had been transferred to prison.

According to Kurbedinov, Crimean activists face appalling conditions in psychiatric hospitals. “Some are placed in isolation and are denied their basic needs, such as access to a toilet. Others are housed with multiple people suffering from severe mental health conditions.

“The activists are interrogated about their alleged involvement in ‘extremism’ and their views of the government. They are also deprived of the right to speak with their family, or meet their lawyer on a one-to-one basis without a guard being present. All of this violates international law,” Kurbedinov said.

All the Crimean activists were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation, which Russia has declared a terrorist group.

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG) asserts that there is no evidence to suggest that the organisation is connected to terrorism, nor is there any proof that the men were involved in the group.

According to KHPG, a further 19 Crimean activists are currently in custody, accused of involvement in Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Memorial, a Russian human rights organisation, has described all the activists in custody as political prisoners.

MORE:   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/28/russian-authorities-imprisoning-crimean-tatars-in-psychiatric-hospitals

Categories: The Muslim Times

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