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Soviet psychiatrist describes abuse.

Soviet psychiatrist describes abuse

In February 1981, Soviet psychiatrist Anatoly Koryagin wasarrested and sent to a prison camp after he examined several political dissidents confined to a mental hospital and concluded that they had no psychiatric disorders. Koryagin and his family were allowed to leave the Soviet Union last month and now live in Switzerland. At a press conference, Koryagin called for the establishment of an international tribunal to monitor psychiatric abuse worldwide and recounted his experiences as a prisoner of conscience.

From his first days in the prison camp, Koryagin says heprotested the conditions, particularly the poor medical care and nutrition. He went on periodic hunger strikes, and as a result was put in solitary confinement. A tube was run through his nose and into his stomach so he could be force-fed nutrients mixed with powerful antipsychotic medications, as well as drugs that induced rapid heartbeats and irregular heart rhythms. The tube inserted in his nose was coated with a corrosive substance that caused extreme pain. He was handcuffed during force-feeding.

"I was virtually cut off from any news of the outside world,'Koryagin said through an interpreter. Occasional breaks in this isolation, such as a visit from his wife after his first hunger strike with news of international efforts to free him, "gave me an enormous boost.'

Koryagin knows of 183 "victims of psychiatric oppression'still in the Soviet Union, but adds that there are certainly many others he is not aware of. He says there are now 16 special psychiatric facilities for political dissidents, up from 11 in 1977.

"My personal view is that no psychiatric association shouldhave any contact with official Soviet psychiatry,' says Koryagin. Private contacts with Soviet psychiatrists should, however, be encouraged, he adds. "Only the pressure of world opinion will help to stop the abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union,' he says.

The official Soviet psychiatric society withdrew from theWorld Psychiatric Association in 1983 (SN: 2/19/83, p. 116). Controversy persists in the American Psychiatric Association over whether to resume formal contacts with the Soviet group.
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Title Annotation:Anatoly Koryagin
Publication:Science News
Date:May 23, 1987
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