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Semyon Gluzman, a young psychiatrist, had been sentenced ten years earlier for refusing to cooperate with this abuse of medical science. We hope that when Dr. Glužman's long incarceration and exile is over, he will be permitted to emigrate.
A recent letter of Dr. Koryagin's, written in. Soviet labor camp Pern #37, appeared in a British medical journal, Lancet. He writes:
"Let there be no doubt that Soviet authorities
- Aleksandr Podrabinek wrote a monograph, Punitive Medicine, in which he described Soviet medical malpractices against dissidents. He was sentenced this last year to three years ,in a labor camp.
- Felix Serebrov was sentenced last July to a total of nine years in severe regime labor camp and internal exile for, among other things, appealing to this very CSCE meeting to help stop the practice of psychiatric abuse in the Soviet Union.
- During the same month, Irina Grivnina, mother of a small child, was sentenced to five years in internal exile for having passed along information which helped to expose the misuse of psychiatry.
Last February, Yuri Valov, a member of a group formed to defend the rights of invalids in the Soviet Union, was sentenced to a psychiatric hospital for his samizdat paper, "An Invalid's Message. This, Mr. Chairman, in the year proclaimed by the United Nations as "The Year of the Invalid.
Dr. Leonard Ternovsky was sentenced a year ago to three years in labor camp for having been unafraid to speak up against the political abuse of psychiatry. Dr. Ternovsky's words at his trial are illuminating:
"I have felt a particular responsibility as a doctor for things done in the name of medicine. I became convinced that psychiatry is in fact being misused, and that it is necessary to oppose such misuses....I would have been happier if my activities and statements were not needed....I foresaw
my arrest and this trial. That does not mean I
Dr. Ternovsky and Dr. Koryagin are by no means alone. Other Soviet physicians are now in prison for their defense of human rights and their protest of the Soviet abuse of medical science. We here recognize the heroism of Dr. Mykola Plakhotnyuk, Dr. Zinovy Krisivsky, Dr. Algirdas Statkevicius.
Copious documentation of the torture we have described exists for more than five hundred persons, out of the thousands so punished. Nor can the existence of the inhumane abuse be denied. The evidence is too great, and it has been confirmed by Soviet Ministry of Health officials. In a paper prepared under the direction of the chief psychiatrist at the Ministry of Health for presentation to a congress of Soviet psychiatrists this past summer, we learned officially that persons are indeed confined in mental institutions because they made "groundless" and "slanderous" statements against the government.
Keeping pace with the growth of the human rights movement, the government has increased the number of Special Psychiatric Hospitals from three in the early 1960's to twelve in 1981. These hospitals are managed by the Ministry of the Interior, the same ministry that runs the Soviet prison system. Dissenters confined there live in constant danger from the truly criminally insane patients.
Nor is the confinement of dissenters limited to political dissidents. Religious activists are frequently similarly victimized.
Valeriy a Makeeva, an Orthodox nun, was confined in Kazan Special Psychiatric Hospital from 1979 until her transfer to an Ordinary Psychiatric Hospital near Moscow in early 1981. Intensive treatment with drugs left her right arm paralyzed.
Members of unregistered Christian groups in several regions of the Soviet Union have also been forced into psychiatric hospitals. A case in point is vladimir Pavolovich Khailo, a worker with fifteen children, member of the Reform Baptist Church, a faith not recognized as legal by the Soviet government, and long the target of persecution. On September 22, 1980, with our
Madrid Preparatory Meeting in session, Khailo was forcibly
Soviet authorities also have used psychiatry to suppress incipient free labor organizations. Mr. Chairman, we have joined here with many in condemning the military government in Warsaw for its efforts to crush solidarity. It is useful to remind ourselves that Soviet workers, who have fought for reforms similar to Solidarity's, are themselves too often persecuted and too often condemned to mental hospital cells.
A number of workers formed a group in Moscow in 1976 collectively to protest violations of their labor rights. By early 1978, no fewer than five of the group's leading members had been confined to psychiatric institutions.
Later that year, another group announced that they were. forming a similar unofficial trade union group. Within three weeks, one founding member was in a psychiatric hospital, while other members were sentenced to imprisonment or exile.
When Mikhail Zotov publicized a lockout at an auto plant in Togliatti, doctors declared him "mentally incompetent" and committed him to the Togliatti General Psychiatric Hospital. Vladimir Klebanov, a foreman in a Ukrainian coal mine, once complained to superiors that his men were dying in accidents because they were exhausted from too much overtime work, When Klebanov went on to announce the formation of an independent union, he was sent to the Drepropetrovsk Special Hospital, where he is still being held.
In 1980, Soviet officials moved against an outspoken coalminer and former member of the Communist Party named Aleksei Nikitin, who first had protested lax safety precautions in the Donetsk mines eleven years ago. This led to his confinement in the Dnepropetrovsk Special Hospital, and he has been in mental hospitals nearly all of the last decade. Although he was examined in September 1980 by the psychiatrist, Dr. Anatoly Koryagin, and pronounced absolutely sane (which pronouncement led to the doctor's arrest), Soviet authorities ended Nikitin's efforts to form a freee trade union in Donetsk and locked him up again just a few months ago in a special psychiatric hospital in Kazakhstan in distant Central Asia, far from family and friends. He is being injected with sulfazin, not an accepted therapeutic drug; and he writes that it "is like a drill boring into your body that gets worse and worse until it's more than you can stand."
We realize, Mr. Chairman, that the people of Poland are not free to determine their own destiny. We have no doubt, however, that the full knowledge of the nature of the Soviet Union and its inhuman repressions are well known to them. They know the fate of the Aleksei Nikitins and they want no part of this barbarism in their own country.
It is tragic that the Soviet Government regards independent opinions as threats to its security and labels them mental diseases. We remind them that the winds of change cross the world as inevitably as the winds of winter.
It is obligatory that Helsinki signatory states not manipulate the minds of their citizens; that they not step between a man and his conscience or his God; and that they not prevent his thoughts from finding expression through peaceful action. We are all painfully aware, furthermore, that governments which systematically disregard the rights of their own people are not likely to respect the rights of other nations and other people.
Scientific developments do not occur with an even fre- · quency among states. Soviet medicine has in the past made great advances in many areas. The widespread misuse of psychiatry to serve the ends of political punishment places this sector of Soviet medicine back into the realm of the dark ages of medical science.
This tragic situation has been brought to the attention of the Soviet Society for Neurologists and Psychiatrists.
We plead with the Soviet authorities to end this barbarism. It is not worthy of a great people.