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European Court To Hear Russian Psychiatric-Clinic Case

ST. PETERSBURG -- The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg will hear a case about the forcible placing of a rights activist in a psychiatric clinic, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Sergei Sotnik became a rights activist after demanding that police stop beating protesters at a demonstration earlier this year in St. Petersburg.

He was detained by the police and put in a psychiatric clinic, where he says he was bound to a bed and given injections against his will.

His lawyer, Roman Chorny, told RFE/RL that his client has a genuine chance to defend his rights in Strasbourg since Russian courts have refused to hear his case.

Sotnik said his experience is similar to the cases of Soviet rights activists and journalists who were forcibly placed in psychiatric clinics because of their political viewpoints and professional activities.

Russian journalist Larisa Arap spent 46 days in a psychiatric clinic in the Murmansk region in 2007 after writing an article alleging child abuse in Russian psychiatric hospitals.