Moscow, June 25, Interfax - The human rights center Memorial has demanded an immediate release of Yakut shaman Alexander Gabyshev, who is undergoing forced treatment, and compensation for the damage inflicted on him.
"We are calling for his immediate and unconditional release and full rehabilitation, as well as compensation for damage," Memorial said in a statement released on Thursday.
Memorial also recognized Gabyshev as a political prisoner because, according to the organization, "he is imprisoned solely because of his political and religious views, and also non-violent exercise of freedom of travel, expression, peaceful assembly, conscience and religion."
"None of the grounds for forced hospitalization has been convincingly proven. The circumstances of his hospitalization and medical examination indicate that there are no such grounds, the statement said. "The court, which made a decision on the forced hospitalization of Gabyshev, did not look at the situation fully and objectively either. The incapability of the investigators to bring criminal charges against Gabyshev over nine months shows that he is innocent," the statement said.
Dmitry Vyatkin, first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Civil Society Development and Public and Religious Associations, earlier told Interfax "there are no political prisoners in Russia as we don't have political articles."
Gabyshev, who calls himself a shaman, began an 8,000-kilometer journey to Moscow in March 2019, in order to "drive Putin away" and "restore the people's power." The trek was supposed to last two years.
Last fall, a criminal case on charges of public calls for extremism was opened against him. He was detained several time, and eventually stopped his journey.
State examination has found Gabyshev insane. On May 12, he was forcibly taken to a mental clinic. The clinic's medical commission resolved that Gabyshev posed a threat to himself and other people.
On June 2, the Yakutsk City Court granted the lawsuit of the mental clinic seeking Gabyshev forced treatment.