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Monday, October 03, 2005


Uzbek activist speaks from mental hospital

From BBC News:

A human rights worker arrested and held in an Uzbekistan psychiatric hospital has said authorities are trying to make her declare herself mentally ill.

Yelena Urlayeva was arrested a month ago for distributing leaflets bearing a political cartoon.

She is now confined in Republican Psychiatric Hospital Number Two on the edge of Tashkent.

Neither lawyers nor relatives are allowed to visit her. But a reporter seeking information in the hospital grounds saw her at a barred window.

Speaking rapidly for fear of being caught, Ms Urlayeva said she had been beaten because the authorities wanted her to declare herself mentally ill. She said she had refused.

They want to transfer her to another part of the hospital where she said there were many political prisoners. And she said that if she was caught talking to anyone she feared she would be beaten again.

After her arrest, Ms Urlayeva was sent for psychiatric tests, but was declared to be in good mental health. The state prosecutor's office then used its prerogative to send her to the more severe Hospital Number Two, for further psychiatric tests.

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