ce399 | research archive (eugenics_transhumanism)

Political Abuse of Psychiatry in the Soviet Union and in China (J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 2002)

Posted in Uncategorized by ce399 on 19/01/2011

The investigation by the U.S. delegation provided
unequivocal proof that the tools of coercive psychiatry
had been used, even in the late 1980s, to hospitalize
persons who were not mentally ill and whose
only transgression had been the expression of political
or religious dissent.1 Most of the patients interviewed
by the delegation had been charged with political
crimes such as “anti-Soviet agitation and
propaganda” or “defaming the Soviet state.” Their
offenses involved behavior such as writing and distributing
anti-Soviet literature, political organizing,
defending the rights of disabled groups, and furthering
religious ideas.

Under applicable laws of Russia and the other
former Soviet Republics, a person charged with a
crime could be subjected to “custodial measures of a
medical nature” if the criminal act was proved and
the person was found “nonimputable” due to mental
illness.7 Nonimputable offenders could be placed in
maximum security hospitals (the notorious “special
hospitals”) or in ordinary hospitals, depending on
their social dangerousness. All the persons interviewed
by the delegation had been found nonimputable
and socially dangerous and confined in special
hospitals after criminal proceedings that deviated
substantially from the general requirements specified
in Soviet law. Typically, the patients reported that
they had been arrested, taken to jail, taken to a hospital
for forensic examination, and then taken to another
hospital under a compulsory treatment order,
without ever seeing an attorney or appearing in
court.8

The delegation found that there was no clinical
basis for the judicial finding of nonimputability in 17
of these cases. In fact, the delegation found no evidence
of mental disorder of any kind in 14 cases. It is
likely that these individuals are representative of

Bonnie
Volume 30, Number 1, 2002 137

many hundreds of others who were found nonimputable
for crimes of political or religious dissent in
the Soviet Union, mainly between 1970 and 1990.
The delegation also found conditions in the special
hospitals to be appallingly primitive and restrictive.
Patients were denied basic rights, even to keep a
diary or possess writing materials or books, and they
were fearful of retaliation if they complained about
their treatment, about abusive conduct by the staff,
or about restrictive hospital rules or practices. No
system existed for resolving patients’ grievances.

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