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Sent to the madhouse

The week's news at a glance.

Murmansk, Russia

Russian authorities committed a prominent opposition activist to a psychiatric clinic this week, after she wrote an article alleging child abuse in a local hospital. Larisa Arap is a member of the United Civil Front, a pro-democracy group led by former chess champ Garry Kasparov. Friends and colleagues said she exhibited no signs of mental illness. They said police showed up at a doctor’s office where Arap was having a routine exam and shoved her into an ambulance. “This smacks of the Soviet-era practice of locking dissidents in psychiatric clinics,” said fellow activist Marina Litvinovich. In the 1960s, Soviet authorities forced hundreds of dissidents to undergo “re-education” in mental hospitals.

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