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No Contact for Three Days with Blogger Forcibly Placed in Psychiatric Hospital by Court for Criticising the Russian Orthodox Church

23 May 2012 

Source: Open Information Agency 

The Agora Human Rights Association and activists from the Karelia Youth Human Rights Group have not been able to contact blogger Maksim Efimov since 21st May. 

Maksim Efimov is not answering his phone or responding to emails. Furthermore, Irina Glatenok, the head doctor of the Republican Psychiatric Hospital of Karelia, the clinic Efimov was sent to by the court, told lawyers that the patient had not set foot in her institution. Human rights activists are voicing concern with regard to Maksim Efimov’s whereabouts, Open Information Agency’s correspondent reports. 

Photo courtesy of Maksim Efimov 

On 12th May Petrozavodsk City Court upheld an application to confine Maksim Efimov, author of the article ‘Karelia is Tired of Priests’ and chair of the Karelia Youth Human Rights Group, to an in-patient ward for a judicial psychological and psychiatric examination. This judgment did not take legal effect, and an appeal was lodged. Independent psychologists and psychiatrists have also criticised the conclusions of their colleagues, who ruled that Efimov should be sent to a psychiatric hospital. 

The conclusion of the judicial psychiatric expert commission of the Karelia Republic’s Psycho-Neurological Health Centre concerning human rights blogger Maksim Efimov “cannot be deemed well argued, well founded or convincing, either with regards to the discrepancy between the results of, and the narrative of, these experts’ conclusion or with regards to their recommendation that a second judicial psychiatric examination be conducted in hospital”. This was the conclusion of the independent report of Professor Vladimir Mendelevich, Doctor of Medical Sciences, head of the Medical and General Psychology Department of the Kazan State Medical University, Psychiatrist First Class with 32 years’ experience and a clinical psychologist with 14 years’ experience. Similar conclusions were reached by Vladimir Rubashny, the former head of the Psychological Agency of the Criminal Penitentiary System of Tatarstan, a psychologist of 18 years standing and a retired Lieutenant-Colonel of the Interior Service, and by Viktor Gursky, psychiatrist, addiction psychologist and psychotherapist at the Nizhny Novgorod Clinical Psychiatric Hospital No. 1, who has worked as a doctor for 28 years and as a psychotherapist for 19 years. 

Readers will recall that Maksim Efimov has been charged with “inciting hatred or enmity and likewise denigrating the dignity of groups of people on the grounds of their religion” (Article 282, Part 1 of the Criminal Code of Russia) for an article published on his blog, ‘Karelia is Tired of Priests’.