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Zinaida Mukhortova
BALKHASH, Kazakhstan -- Hearings have resumed into whether a Kazakh lawyer was legally admitted into a psychiatric hospital.

Zinaida Mukhortova's hearing in the city of Balkhash started on August 16 but was postponed until August 19 because her lawyer could not attend the session.

Mukhortova, who spent nine months in the psychiatric clinic last year, says she is mentally healthy and that the actions against her are politically motivated.

She says authorities took action against her after she filed complaints against a regional governor.

Mukhortova's latest forced psychiatric hospitalization began August 9.

Doctors have said she suffers from delusions.

The clinic's senior physician told RFE/RL last week that Mukhortova was forced into treatment after she ignored a court order.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement on August 16 demanding Mukhortova's release from the clinic.
Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva kisses her gold medal at the women's pole-vault victory ceremony during the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow on August 15.
Russian pole-vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has reacted to strong criticism of her remarks about homosexuals, saying she was misunderstood and opposes sexual discrimination.

In a statement released on August 16, Isinbayeva said English was not her first language and that might have led to misunderstandings.

The statement said, "What I wanted to say was the people should respect the laws of other countries, particularly when they are guests."

Isinbayeva sparked the controversy with her comments at a news conference in Moscow on August 15.

"If we allow to promote [gay relations] and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves normal, standard people where boys live with women, women live with boys and everything must be fine here," she said then.

"It comes from the history. We never had any problems -- I mean these problems -- in Russia and we don't want to have them in the future."

Those comments came in reaction to competitors at the World Athletics Championships under way in Moscow who painted their fingernails in rainbow colors, which are a symbol of gay pride.

She said on August 15 that sporting events should be about competition and the athletes and not become a forum for debating social issues.

"I feel sorry that [gay-rights activists] are trying to involve the athletes in such a problem, because we do not prohibit athletes from participating in Sochi [Olympic Games] even if they have a nontraditional relationship," she said.

"So, it doesn't matter, because we don't care about this, we don't care about nationalities, about different skin colors, race -- we don't care, we are athletes, we're one family and we work very hard for only one goal -- to [win] a gold medal in Olympic Games, to participate in Olympic Games."

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed legislation in June prohibiting "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors," sparking an international outcry among human rights activists who say it promotes discrimination.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP

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