Today’s decision of a Moscow court to send Mikhail Kosenko to forcible treatment in a psychiatric institution is an abhorrent return to the Soviet-era practices used to silence dissent, Amnesty International said.
“To forcibly incarcerate Mikhail Kosenko in a psychiatric unit smacks of the worst excesses of the now defunct Soviet era when dissidents were languishing in mental institutions, treated as mental patients only because they dared to speak their mind,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Program Director.
“Mikhail Kosenko is a prisoner of conscience put behind bars for peacefully exercising his right to protest and should be released immediately.”
Mikhail Kosenko was arrested after he took part in a Bolotnaya Square protest in May 2012 which turned violent. He was charged with taking part in a riot and using violence against police officers.
The court decision was announced as dozens of people gathered in a peaceful protest outside the court shouting Kosenko's name and "Freedom". It is reported that at least eight people have been arbitrarily arrested.