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against their will.
Sometimes friends and relatives who tried to make contact with victims in hospitals have faced reprisals. In 1978, for example, Anatoly Pozdnyakov, a member of a recently established independent trade union group, was beaten up by an orderly outside Moscow's psychiatric hospital No. 1, after he tried to speak to his colleague Evgeny Nikolaev,
through a window. He was reportedly warned that if he complained about the beating he would "end up here with us." In autumn 1980 the wife of Arkady Stapanchuk, a Ukrainian worker confined after he sought asylum in the British embassy in Moscow, was herself forcibly confined for 21 days when she attempted to visit her husband in the hospital.
The Soviet Response
to Allegations of Psychiatric Abuse
Since it met in 1977 the WPA has established a Committee to Review the Abuse of Psychiatry for Political Reasons, whose brief is to monitor individual cases. Over the past five years this committee has submitted to the AllUnion Society of Neurologists and Psychiatrists of the USSR more than 20 documented requests for information on 11 individual cases. The All-Union Society has refused to recognized the authority of this committee, but in early 1982 it promised replies to the Executive Committee of the WPA on six of the cases raised. By January 1983 only two replies had been sent. One concerned the Ukrainian Uniate Catholic believer, Iosif Terelya, who was released after over 8 years' confinement as a prisoner of conscience in November 1981. Terelya, who is now 40 years old, was first forcibly confined to a special psychiatric hospital under the criminal procedure in 1972, after he had been arrested on a charge of "anti-Soviet agitation and propagan. da." He was released in 1976, but reconfined in April 1977
after he had written an Open Letter to the then-head of the KGB, Yury Andropov, protesting against the illegality of his confinement. The other reply concerned a Leningrad engineer, Anatoly Ponomaryov, who is still confined to a psychiatric hospital. Anatoly Ponomaryov has been confined on six separate occasions, for a total of 12 years. He was first put in a mental hospital against his will in 1970, after being arrested for circulating a copy of Solzhenitsny's letter to the All-Union Writers' Congress. The content of the replies from the All-Union Society has not been published.
The Soviet authorities and spokesmen for the Soviet psychiatric profession have continued to dismiss allegations made by foreign psychiatrists and human rights' organizations as politically-motivated "slander." In February 1983 the All-Union Society resigned its membership of the WPA, five months before the Seventh Congress of the world body was due to meet in Vienna.
Additional Cases of the Political
GEDERTS MELNGAILIS (32) is a Lutheran from the Latvian republic.
Following his arrest Mr Melngailis was put in an ordinary psychiatric
According to official Soviet procedures an individual may only be confined to a psychiatric hospital against his will if he is shown to be both mentally ill and an "evident danger" to himself or to others. There is no evidence to suggest that Gederts Melngailis represented such a danger either at the time of his arrest or previously. The evidence shows rather that he is confined not for genuine medical reasons, but for peacefully seeking to exercise his right to freedoin of expression. Amnesty International is therefore adopting him as a prisoner of conscience. For further information about the official procedures for confining people to psychiatric hospitals against their will please see the attached Amnesty International paper "Political Abuse of Psychiatry in the USSR" (AI Index; EUR/46/01/83, February 1983).
Latvia, and likewise its Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania, were part of the Tsarist empire, but became independent after the revolutions of 1917 in Russia. Its independence lasted only until 1940. In 1939 the Soviet Government and Nazi Germany signed a Non-Aggression Pact (sometimes called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) under the terms of which the Baltic Republics, including Latvia, passed into the Soviet sphere of influence. In 1940 Soviet forces occupied all three Baltic republics and they were soon annexed to the USSR. German forces subsequently invaded arid occupied the Baltic republics until they were driven out by Soviet forces in 1944 and 1945. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania remained annexed to the USSR with the status of Union Republics.
During the 1970's and early 1980's the Baltic republics have been the scene of conspicuous dissent from Soviet government policies. Most consistent dissent has been expressed in the Lithuanian republics, where in the last decade there has been a proliferation of unofficial journals advocaring the preservation of Lithuanian national culture, and opposing the Soviet Government's restrictions on the activities of the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church. In 1979 - the Fortieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact - 45 Balts, among them 4 Latvians, drew up an unofficial "Memorandum" in which they called upon the Secretary General of the United Nations to declare the terms of the pact null and void, and to secure the return of independence to the Baltic republics. 9 of the signatories to this Memorandum have subsequently been arrested and sentenced to terms of imprisonment or analogous punishment.
In November 1982, it was reported that several Latvians had staged a
in Latvia, and to have confiscated religious literature and unofficial - material devoted to peace issues, as well as copies of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. One woman was arrested on the day of
Since January five more Latvians - among them Gederts Melngailis -
anti-Soviet slander" or "anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda".
Before his arrest Gederts Melngailis lived with his mother and sister in Riga, and worked at the "Ausma" factory, making rubber and plastic. equipment. He has a secondary school education and between March 1974 and August 1975 is reported to have enrolled in a theological course offered by the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Since the age of 16 Gederts Melngailis is reported to have been in conflict with the authorities for expressing nationalist sentiments. In 1967 he was sent for two weeks' psychiatric examination after he had drawn the colours of the Latvian national flag on an envelope addressed to a cousin, and had written "Long Live Free Latvia" in another letter addressed to the same person. The psychiatrists who examined Mr Melngailis apparently found no grounds for prolonging his confinement.
During the 1970's Gederts Melngailis reportedly came into contact with former political prisoners after their release from imprisonment. These included Lydia Doronina, who was imprisoned between 1970 and 1972 for having circulated unofficially a Latvian translation of Aleksander Solzhenitsyn's article "This is How We Live". Ms Doronina had previously served a ten-year term of imprisonment in the 1950's for her involvement with Latvian partisans, who resisted the unification of Latvia with the Soviet Union between 1945-48. During the 1970's she is known to have given material help to former political prisoners on their release from imprisonment. During this time Gederts Melngailis also came into contact with Gunnars Rode, a Latvian sentenced in 1962 to fifteen years' imprisonment on a charge of "treason" for forming an unoffical group which advocated an independent federation of the Baltic states. Rode emigrated from the USSR in 1978.
According to his mother, Gederts Melngailis was summoned for repeated questioning by KGB officials during the 1970's and subjected to harassment ment by colleagues at work and by neighbours. In January 1981 and again in March 1982 he submitted unsuccessful applications to emigrate from the Soviet Union. In December 1981 he was detained by the KGB and threatened with psychiatric confinement whilst attempting to visit a correspondent of the British newspaper The Financial Times, in Moscow.
Valery Tyurichev is confined against his will to Smolensk special psychiatric hospital. His confinement came in 1981 after he had written an article criticizing the Soviet Union's economic policy and applied for permission to emigrate. According to official Soviet procedures individuals may be confined to psychiatric hospitals against their will only if they are mentally ill and represent an "evident danger" to themselves or to others. There is no evidence to show that Valery Tyurichev virrepresented such a danger at the time of his arrest or previously. The evidence clearly indicates that he is confined for peacefully seeking to exercise his human rights. Amnesty International therefore regards him as a prisoner of conscience.
For further information on official Soviet procedures for confining people to psychiatric hospitals against their will, please see attached Amnesty International briefing paper "Political Abuse of Psychiatry in the USSR" (EUR 46/01/83, February 1983).
Information on the case of Valery Tyurichev has come to light only in recent months, since his father gave an unofficial press conference in Moscow in March 1983. At this press conference Vasily Tyurichev handed out a statement appealing to the World Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organisation to help in obtaining his son's release.
Valery Tyurichev, aged 36 years, was formerly the director of a shop in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk. He is reported to have been dismissed from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1978. In 1979 he wrote an article which criticized aspects of socialist economics. This was confiscated from him when he was briefly detained in Moscow in April 1980. Tyurichev is then reported to have sent an expanded version of his manuscript to the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute in Moscow.
After April 1980 Valery Tyurichev and his family were reportedly questioned on several occasions by police officials. The family then renounced its Soviet citizenship and applied for permission to emigrate. Their application was turned down. In the summer of 1980, while the Olympic Games were being staged in Moscow, Valery Tyurichev was one of a number of Soviet citizens of known non-conformist views who were put in psychiatric hospitals under the civil procedure for the duration of the Games. Valery Tyurichev was diagnosed to be "mentally healthy" and was discharged.
After he was released, Tyurichev and his wife lost their jobs. Their attempts to be reinstated were not successful. In November 1980 they travelled to Moscow with their family and demonstrated in Red Square, carrying placards bearing the slogan "Helsinki-Belgrade-Madrid - Nil!" They were immediately arrested and flown back to Dnepropetrovsk after two days' detention.
Shortly after this incident the Visa Section of the Dnepropetrovsk Department of Internal Affairs invited them to re-submit applications for an exit visa. On. 16 March 1981 they were reportedly summoned to the department to complete their forms. As he left the house Valery Tyurichev was arrested. His house was searched and 16 exercise books of his personal notes, together with the certificate of postage of a letter he had sent to President Carter of the united States were confiscated. It is not known exactly what charge was brought against Valery Tyurichev, but one source reports that he was charged with "circulating anti-Soviet slander".
During the investigation of his case, which lasted five months, Tyurichev was reportedly offered a "lenient sentence" of six months' simprisonment and five years' internal exile in Dnepropetrovsk region, if he would testify against himself. He refused and was sent to
Dnepropetrovsk psychiatric hospital for examination. Doctors there .diagnosed him to be mentally healthy. He was then re-examined by a
medical commission headed by Professor V. P. Blokhin, which diagnosed him to be suffering from "schizoid psychopathy" and ruled him not responsible for his actions. In late 1981 his case was heard by a court in Dnepropetrovsk and he was ordered to be forcibly confined in a special psychiatric hospital for an indefinite period.
Special psychiatric hospitals constitute the most severe type of psychiatric institution in the USSR. They are officially designated for those who "represent a special danger to society". There is no evidence to suggest that Valery Tyurichev represented such a danger either at the time of his arrest or previously. The available evidence clearly indicates that he is confined for his peaceful attempts to exercise his right to freedom of expression and his efforts to gain permission to emigrate.
Valery Tyurichev was sent first to Dnepropetrovsk special psychiatric hospital, where he is reported to have been treated with powerful neuroleptic drugs. On 19 May 1982 he was transferred to another special psychiatric hospital in Smolensk where his treatment with haloperidol and insulin has reportedly been continued. The person in charge of his case is Doctor Anatoly Pavlovich Ptushkin. In December 1982 the medical commission which has examined him at six-monthly intervals to determine whether his confinement should be prolonged, altered the diagnosis of his condition to one of "schizophrenia in a paranoid form".
On 16 February 1983 Valery Tyurichev declared a hunger-strike in protest against the drug treatment being administered to him. It is not known how long his hunger-strike lasted.