The long-haired shaman who walked across Russia to “expel Putin’s evil spirit from the Kremlin” has been released from a psychiatric hospital after two months of forced treatment.
Alexander Gabyshev from the city of Yakutsk in the far-eastern Russian republic of Sakha was originally arrested on terrorism charges on 19th September 2019.
He was released shortly afterwards, but was detained again in December during a second march on Red Square.
The shaman vowed to drive Russian President Vladimir Putin from power while walking over 2,000 kilometres (1,242 miles) to Moscow, speaking to hundreds of people along the way.
He claimed that he was visiting the Russian capital to “expel Putin’s evil spirit from the Kremlin”.
However, he was promptly detained and placed in a psychiatric hospital in Yakutsk after his second trip to Moscow in December, 2019, according to news site Gordonua.
A psychiatric examination ordered by the local authorities reportedly declared Gabyshev insane, and he has been held in an institution several times since.
His most recent spell in a psychiatric facility started on 12th May when security forces raided the shaman’s house and held him without access to legal representation, according to one of his lawyers Olga Timofeeva.
In May, Timofeeva said: “The Ministry of Health’s response to my question about the legal reasons for Gabyshev’s detention was vague.
“The ministry did not give a clear answer, saying only that visits to Gabyshev had been banned due to COVID-19 restrictions.”
His legal team filed a lawsuit, declaring the shaman’s imprisonment in the psychiatric hospital illegal.
Human rights activist Aleksey Pryanishnikov, who has been dealing with the case, told news site MBH Media that a second medical commission decided that there was no need to forcibly keep Gabyshev in the hospital.
He added: “Without such widespread media and public support for our efforts, which ended up in court, the treatment of Gabyshev could have carried on for as long as they deemed necessary, especially as the court did not set an end date to his hospitalisation.”
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Story By: Gheorghi Caraseni, Sub-Editor: Alex Cope, Agency: Central European News
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