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Uzbekistan Releases Rights Activist From Hospital

Uzbek President Islam Karimov (file photo) (AFP) 29 October 2005 -- Uzbek authorities released rights activist Yelena Urlaeva from a psychiatric hospital, according to Urlaeva's lawyer.

Attorney Vitaly Krasilivsky said his client was freed from the hospital on 27 October. Krasilivsky said Urlaeva was released after international rights groups appealed against her forced admission to the hospital.

Urlaeva was arrested in August for publishing a cartoon of the national emblem of Uzbekistan and for being in
possession of material that criticized the regime of Uzbek President Islam Karimov.

Since neither of these was covered by the Uzbek Criminal Code, Urlaeva was put in a psychiatric hospital.

Urlaeva said she was given a drug for schizophrenia while in the hospital and was only taken off the medication when she developed side effects. She did not say what those side effects were.

It was the third time since July 2001 that Urlaeva was put in a psychiatric hospital.