Sent to the madhouse
The week's news at a glance.
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 doctors 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.