Russia: A court closes in a psychiatric institution critical of Putin

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A Russian court has sentenced a Siberian shaman to death in a psychiatric hospital for criticizing the president. Vladimir Putin and who was accused of assaulting a member of the Russian National Guard, his lawyer said. Alexander Gabishev was in the spotlight when in 2019 he began a journey of 8,000 kilometers, as he aspired to a trip to Moscow to exorcise Putin, whom he described as a “demon”, according to APE.

Gabishev attempted this trip many times but was always stopped by the police, who took him back to Yakutia, his birthplace in eastern Siberia. When he announced his latest attempt in January, he was arrested at his home on charges of assaulting a guard who had gone to arrest him. Today, a court in Yakutia sentenced him to compulsory admission to a psychiatric institution, according to Alexei Priannisnikov, his lawyer.

“This means that he will be held in conditions similar to those in prison,” Prianisnikov said, adding that the length of his treatment would be determined by doctors. “Experience shows that no one leaves in less than two and a half to three years,” he said, calling the sentence disproportionate. Human rights activists say Russia is reviving its Soviet practice of subjecting some of its political dissidents to compulsory hospitalization and psychiatric treatment.

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