07MOSCOW3953, ARAP CASE: COURT CONFIRMS COMMITTAL TO PSYCHIATRIC

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW3953 2007-08-13 16:20 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXYZ0012
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHMO #3953/01 2251620
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 131620Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2865

C O N F I D E N T I A L MOSCOW 003953 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/13/2017 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV SOCI RS
SUBJECT: ARAP CASE: COURT CONFIRMS COMMITTAL TO PSYCHIATRIC 
HOSPITAL 
 
REF: A. MOSCOW 3890 
 
     B. MOSCOW 3805 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Daniel A. Russell.  Reason:  1.4 (d). 
 
------- 
Summary 
------- 
 
1. (C)  Despite testimony of independent psychiatrists from 
Moscow, a local court in Murmansk ruled August 10 in favor of 
continued involuntary committal of United Civic Front 
activist Larissa Arap for up to six months, at the discretion 
of the local psychiatric hospital that committed her in the 
first place.  An Independent Psychiatric Association 
(IPA)-composed commission convened by Human Rights Ombudsman 
Vladimir Lukin (Ref A) examined Arap August 9 and 10, and 
testified to the court in support of Arap's release to home 
care.  IPA President Yuriy Savenko, who led the commission, 
will report his findings to Lukin on August 13.  The Embassy 
is urging Lukin and his staff to request that the Procurator 
General appeal the local court decision as soon as possible. 
End summary. 
 
-------------------------- 
Lukin's Commission Engaged 
-------------------------- 
 
2. (SBU) Independent Psychiatric Association (IPA) President 
Dr. Yuriy Savenko and member Dr. Lyubov Vinogradova met with 
Arap in the Apetity psychiatric hospital in the Murmansk 
region on August 9 and 10.  Vinogradova told us that Arap "is 
not healthy, and needs psychiatric treatment, but not in such 
crude and harsh conditions."  Vinogradova said that Arap was 
in "better condition" than she would have been if she had 
received no treatment at all, but that she would be even 
better at home.  She noted that Arap had lost approximately 
10 kilos (22 lbs.) since being institutionalized in early 
July, as a result of her hunger strikes, but added that Arap 
now understood that additional hunger strikes would not be an 
effective form of protest.  Vinogradova added that Arap's 
current treatment is detrimental because she is being kept 
too far from her family and has not had contact with her own 
doctors. 
 
3. (SBU) The IPA team testified at the August 10 court 
hearing that while Arap needed care, forced treatment at a 
hospital was not necessary, and urged her release to home 
care.  They also testified that the manner in which Arap was 
hospitalized violated Russia's law "On Psychiatric Medical 
Aid." 
 
4. (SBU) Arap testified on her own behalf.  Vinogradova 
commented that Arap was calm and responded to many questions 
by the judge during the seven-hour hearing.  According to 
press accounts, Igor Bulantsev, the hospital's deputy senior 
doctor, testified that Arap had been diagnosed with a serious 
mental disorder and required constant medication.  If 
released to home care, he claimed she would be in danger of 
missing her medication and would again require 
hospitalization. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
To Be Hospitalized for up to Six Months 
---------------------------------------- 
 
5. (SBU) Despite the IPA team's testimony, the court ordered 
Arap to be hospitalized at the hospital's discretion for up 
to six months.  After that time, another court hearing would 
be required to continue her hospitalization.  Vinogradova 
told us that she did not expect the hospital to hold Arap 
that long.  She surmised that the hospital might release Arap 
in as few as three weeks. 
 
6. (C) Lukin's Deputy, Georgiy Kunadze, told us August 13 
that he and Lukin were awaiting a briefing and a written 
report from the IPA team later that day.  While he would not 
comment definitively until they had read the report, Kunadze 
told us that preliminary comments from the team indicated 
that Arap did not need to be hospitalized.  Kunadze added 
that "there is no evidence that her treatment there is 
connected in any way with her political activities (i.e., her 
membership in the UCF), but we can already say that there is 
substance to the criticism of how the medical officials have 
handled the case."  He said that this was part of a larger 
problem, namely that "there is still today the Soviet-era 
practice of using psychiatric treatment to suppress dissent." 
 
 
---------- 
Next Steps 
---------- 
 
 
7. (C) Arap's family has already appealed the July 18 court 
decision that validated the initial doctor's order to commit 
Arap (Ref B), and plans to appeal the August 10 decision. 
Both appeals would be heard at the oblast-level court. 
According to Kunadze Lukin could request that the Procurator 
General appeal the Apetity decision, also at the Murmansk 
Oblast court. 
 
8. (C) Comment: It is a positive step that the Russian Human 
Rights Ombudsman's efforts fielded a team of medical 
professionals to Murmansk, who made their own analyses and 
testified in court in favor of Arap's release. 
Unfortunately, the local court deferred to the local doctors 
who forcibly hospitalized Arap in the first place.  The 
Embassy is urging Lukin and his staff to move quickly on this 
case and to request that the Procurator General appeal the 
local cour
t's decision. 
RUSSELL

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