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U.S. condemns Russia's use of punitive psychiatry in Crimea to pressure opponents of occupation

The United States condemns the use of punitive psychiatry by the Russian occupation authorities against those who disagree with the occupation of the peninsula.

According to an Ukrinform correspondent, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE Courtney Austrian said this at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, October 22.

"We continue to receive reports of serious abuses in Russia-occupied Crimea. Russia’s occupation authorities transferred imprisoned Deputy Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Nariman Dzhelyal to a psychiatric facility for evaluation without any apparent legitimate basis. We condemn Russia's use of punitive psychiatry in Crimea to pressure opponents of the occupation and falsely equate peaceful dissent with mental illness," she said.

Referring to human rights activists, the U.S. diplomat said that at least 49 such cases have been documented in Crimea since the occupation began.

"We again call for Russia to release Dzhelyal and all other political prisoners. We are troubled by the reports that at least 15 Crimean Tatars were detained on October 11 for merely standing outside a Simferopol court to show their support for political prisoners standing trial inside. When five other Crimean Tatars sought to confirm the whereabouts of those detained at a local police station, they too were detained," Austrian said.

Read also: Crimea occupation authorities widely using punitive psychiatry - Ukraine at OSCE

Earlier, lawyer Nikolai Polozov said that First Deputy Head of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Nariman Dzhelyal, illegally detained by the occupation authorities in Crimea, was moved on October 7 from a local pretrial detention center to a psychiatric hospital. His compulsory examination will last from 21 to 28 days.

The lawyer recalled that Dzhelyal earlier protested the psychiatric examination citing the lack of grounds for its appointment.

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