Russia: court to consider 'Soviet'-style psychiatric detention of protester tomorrow

Mikhail Kosenko already detained for more than a year-and-a-half
 
Amnesty International is monitoring the appeal hearing tomorrow of a man who has been ordered to be forcibly detained - potentially indefinitely - for psychiatric treatment following his arrest for participation in an anti-government protest in Moscow.
 
On Thursday a Moscow court is scheduled to hear the appeal of Mikhail Kosenko, who has been in detention since 8 June 2012, a month after he took part in a protest in Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square where protesters clashed with the police. 
 
He was charged with participating in “mass riots” and use of force against a police officer, and was sentenced to forcible psychiatric treatment on 8 October last year. Kosenko was imprisoned for his right to peaceful protest, and Amnesty considers him a prisoner of conscience who ought to be immediately and unconditionally released.
 
Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International’s Moscow office, said:
 
“The decision the court takes tomorrow could endorse a Soviet-era practice of silencing dissent with the help of psychiatric medicine, incarcerating an innocent man, potentially indefinitely.
 
“Amnesty International very much hopes that the court will look impartially into the alternative psychiatric report and the evidence - including video footage and testimonies of eyewitnesses - which overwhelmingly exculpate him of the charges he faced, and ensure that Mikhail Kosenko walks free tomorrow.
 
“The choice between justice and injustice is in the court’s hands.” 
 

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