Week-ending 17 September 2021
“That is the second instance of Aleksandr Gabyshev facing punitive psychiatry, after he was arbitrarily placed in a psychiatric institution between 12 May and 22 July 2020 and released in response to a wide public outcry. If he loses his appeal on 23 September, he risks being confined there indefinitely and subjected to forcible treatment.”
In an Urgent Action issued on 16 September 2021, Amnesty International urged its supporters to write to the prosecutor of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Maksim Nikolaevich Popov, urging him to take action to stop the harassment of Aleksandr Gabyshev, 52 years-old resident of Yakutsk, ‘including his intended confinement in a psychiatric institution under the decision by Yakutsk City Court taken on 26 July 2021.’ Gabyshev’s appeal against his confinement will be heard on 23 September. The text in part read:
‘That is the second instance of Aleksandr Gabyshev facing punitive psychiatry, after he was arbitrarily placed in a psychiatric institution between 12 May and 22 July 2020 and released in response to a wide public outcry. If he loses his appeal on 23 September, he risks being confined there indefinitely and subjected to forcible treatment. According to international law and standards, deprivation of liberty on grounds of mental illness is unjustified if not strictly necessary to protect the safety of the person or of others. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which Russia is a State party, forbids the deprivation of liberty based on the existence of any disability, including mental or intellectual. Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur on torture has said that medical treatment administered in the absence of free and informed consent may amount to torture or other illtreatment. Aleksandr Gabyshev is a shaman who engaged in peaceful activism in 2018, as a public critic of President Vladimir Putin. In the years that followed, he was subjected to repeated arbitrary arrests by police, humiliating examinations and unfounded psychiatric confinement. On 27 January 2021, his home was raided by dozens of police officers, when he was arrested and accused of using violence.’
Source: ‘Shaman challenges indefinite hospitalization: Aleksandr Gabyshev,’ Amnesty International, 16 September 2021
Amnesty International, 16 September 2021: On 23 September, the Supreme Court of Sakha (Yakutia) will consider shaman Aleksandr Gabyshev’s appeal against the decision to confine him to psychiatric hospital. Meanwhile he is in pretrial detention and under investigation for alleged violence against a police officer. The shaman has been long targeted by the authorities after he vowed in 2019 to walk from Siberia to Moscow and use his shamanic powers “to purge” President Vladimir Putin. He has been repeatedly arbitrarily arrested, and subjected to humiliating searches and examinations, and confined in a psychiatric institution, all for criticizing the Russian authorities and his peaceful activism.