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Bolotnaya Protester 'Freed' From Forced Psychiatric Treatment


Kosenko was among hundreds of people detained after participating in a protest on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square in 2012. (file photo)

A Russian court has canceled an order imposing psychiatric treatment on an activist who participated in a protest on the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration to his current term, his sister says.

A court in Moscow ruled on February 6 to free Mikhail Kosenko from compulsory psychiatric treatment, his sister Ksenia wrote in a message on Twitter.

Kosenko was among more than 400 people detained after participating in a protest on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square on May 6, 2012 during which opposition activists clashed with police. Protesters and police blame each another for the violence.

Kosenko was convicted of participating in the unrest and assaulting a police officer, and his sentence was forced psychiatric treatment.

He was released in July 2014 to continue treatment in an outpatient clinic.

Last month, a court in the southwestern region of Astrakhan ruled that another participant in the Bolotnaya Square protest, Maksim Panfilov, must be transferred to "ambulatory treatment not linked to placement in a psychiatric clinic."

Panfilov was diagnosed with suffering from a neuropsychiatric disorder.

An opposition protester is detained by police in Bolotnaya Square in May 2012.
An opposition protester is detained by police in Bolotnaya Square in May 2012.

The protest on Bolotnaya Square was one of a series of large opposition protests sparked mainly by anger over evidence of widespread electoral fraud and dismay at Putin's decision to return to the presidency after a four-year stint as prime minister.

More than 30 people were prosecuted in connection with the clashes, and more than 20 were sentenced to prison terms or served time in pretrial detention.

The last imprisoned Bolotnaya activist, Ivan Nepomnyashchikh, was released in August after serving a 30-month sentence. He left Russia for the United States two weeks later.

The last suspect in the case, Dmitry Buchenkov, who insisted that he was not even in Moscow when the protest took place, has also fled Russia.

Amnesty International says the police action at the rally "was not the quelling of a riot but the crushing of a protest," and that all those prosecuted are "victims of a politically motivated show trial."

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