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Armenia: Report Details Psychiatric Hospital Abuses

A new independent study concludes that people without mental health problems often are being committed to psychiatric hospitals, including four in the capital, Yerevan. (Photo: Justyna Mielnikiewicz)

During the Soviet era, Communist authorities occasionally had dissidents committed to psychiatric hospitals as a way of keeping them quiet. Times have changed, but rights activists in Armenia say psychiatric hospitals are still occasionally being used and abused, especially as a means of settling financial and other disputes among friends and relatives.

“People can consider themselves absolutely normal, with no mental disorders, but a single telephone call, a complaint filed by their relatives, neighbors or other interested parties can lock them up in a mental hospital for years, for an indefinite period of time, through the joint efforts of police and emergency doctors,” charged activist Arthur Sakunts, chairperson of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly's center in the northern city of Vanadzor.

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Armenia: Report Details Psychiatric Hospital Abuses

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