Monday, April 22, 2024

Russian Lady Faces Psychiatric Confinement Over Uncompromising Anti-Battle Stance

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — “This warfare is the destruction of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Viktoria Petrova mentioned in her remaining courtroom speech on December 21, calling Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine “a criminal offense towards humanity.”

“It’s the annexation of sovereign territory, the dislocation of tens of millions of individuals, the lack of properties and family members…tens of tens of millions of tragedies,” mentioned Petrova, 29, at her trial in St. Petersburg. “Photos of struggling are actually searing into my reminiscence. Many will stay there endlessly.”

‘Vika Cherished The Unsuitable Issues’

Since October, the closed hearings in Petrova’s trial on costs of disseminating “false” details about the Russian armed forces have taken place within the psychiatric hospital the place she has been held. Prosecutors have argued that Petrova’s purported crime was motivated and aggravated by “political hatred.”

“Apparently, within the absence of actual arguments, they select this path: should you don’t love the president, it means you don’t love your nation,” Petrova’s lawyer, Anastasia Pilipenko, instructed RFE/RL’s North.Realities. “In the event you don’t love one thing, it means you hate it. In the event you learn international media, it means you hate your nation. In keeping with the prosecution, Vika liked the incorrect issues…and insidiously ignored the Protection Ministry’s briefings.”

Viktoria Petrova has described the prosecution’s closing statement against her as "cold, official, approved, and bolstered by the power of hatred.”

Viktoria Petrova has described the prosecution’s closing assertion towards her as “chilly, official, authorized, and bolstered by the ability of hatred.”

The courtroom is anticipated handy down its verdict on December 25. In a throwback to one of the vital reviled practices of the Soviet Union, prosecutors have requested the decide to condemn her to enforced psychiatric hospitalization.

Petrova was arrested at her dwelling in St. Petersburg on Could 6, 2022. Brokers from the Inside Ministry’s Anti-Extremism Heart and an organized-crime unit searched her house and confiscated her phone, her pc, and several other anti-war posters. Legislation enforcement had been investigating her social media posts since no less than March 25, Pilipenko mentioned.

Though she had by no means been politically energetic earlier than and her social media account — with about 300 readers — typically featured pictures from the gymnasium and portraits of her cat, Petrova instructed police at her preliminary questioning that she had each intention of continuous to write down towards the warfare.

At an early courtroom listening to, the protection requested that she be held beneath home arrest pending trial.

“The decide was doing the weekend shift,” Pilipenko instructed RFE/RL on the time. “There was one fascinating second once I requested for [house arrest] and the investigator mentioned, ‘No objection.’ The decide requested, ‘What did you say?’ And he answered once more, ‘No objection.’ Then the decide made a bit gesture and requested once more. This time the investigator sighed and requested the decide to put the defendant in custody.”​

After she had been held for almost a 12 months with out trial, a cellmate filed a grievance towards Petrova alleging that she “continued to unfold anti-war propaganda” in jail. Consequently, a decide despatched her for a psychiatric examination throughout which medical doctors decided she “couldn’t and can’t perceive her actions or management them.” It was tantamount to a prognosis of psychological incompetence.

Earlier than her arrest, Petrova had by no means sought or obtained psychological care.

The courtroom then appointed a bureaucrat from the St. Petersburg district the place Petrova rented an house as her “authorized consultant,” regardless of a protection movement that her uncle, with whom she is shut, be named. On October 24, the courtroom ordered her confined to the Skvortsov-Stepanov Psychiatric Hospital. In keeping with the Telegram channel Moi Raion, which coated the listening to, the appointed authorized consultant agreed with the choice, telling the courtroom: “She has harmed herself and it’s higher she stay there. That method she gained’t offend once more.”

Forcible Injections

Since she has been in psychiatric confinement, Petrova has confronted mistreatment, Pilipenko mentioned. A gaggle of male employees members pressured her to strip bare for a “bodily inspection.” She was not given sanitary pads whereas menstruating.

“Blood was flowing down her legs, and everybody was mocking her,” Pilipenko instructed RFE/RL.

When Petrova refused to bathe in entrance of employees members, she was threatened with corporal punishment.

At instances, she was certain to her mattress and forcibly injected with unknown substances that left her unable to talk for days.

In her closing remarks on December 21, Petrova concluded by instantly addressing President Vladimir Putin, the federal government, the Safety Council, the members of each homes of parliament, “state propagandists,” and “all these affiliated with the so-called ‘particular navy operation” — the warfare towards Ukraine.

“I demand the fast cessation of navy exercise on the territory of Ukraine and the fast opening of negotiations aimed on the diplomatic decision of the battle,” she instructed the courtroom. “I additionally demand the decriminalization of the [Criminal Code] articles on navy censorship and the discharge and rehabilitation of all political prisoners.”

The prosecution’s closing assertion, Pilipenko argued, was an actual “instance of political hatred.”

“Solely it wasn’t a put up on social media, however an official assertion that had probably been authorized by a number of senior bosses,” she mentioned. “Chilly, official, authorized, and bolstered by the ability of hatred.”

Written by RFE/RL’s Robert Coalson primarily based on reporting by RFE/RL’s North.Realities. This story is predicated on reporting by correspondents on the bottom in Russia. Their names are being withheld for his or her safety.

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