Timur Kobaliya: The Case of Anatoly Boltykhov

posted 15 Dec 2017, 09:17 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 15 Dec 2017, 12:46 ]

1 December 2017

By Timur Kobaliya, director of NGO TV and member of the Human Rights Council of Volgograd

On 17 November 2017 a member of the Human Rights Council of Volgograd, Anatoly Boltykhov [pictured left - YouTube], was detained by police and placed in the psychiatric department of a hospital. This occurred after Anatoly Boltykhov had taken part, along with 26 other activists, in a march in Volgograd in defence of freedom of expression and assembly. The march visited in turn City Hall, the regional administration, and other government buildings, including the regional police authority, the FSB and the office of the Presidential Representative.

The circumstances in which Boltykhov's detention took place are the following.

On 17 November 2017, Anatoly was working on his car. He had driven to his apartment building from the garage where he keeps his car. He had taken out the car battery, in order to carry it up to his apartment. At that moment police officers ran up to him, and seizing him by the arms, twisted them behind his back. They struck him on the head. 

All this was seen by Anatoly’s neighbour. She shouted, and the officers seemed to calm down. Anatoly was put in a police car, an ambulance was called. The doctors said he was well and left the scene. Anatoly was taken to the district police station. No official report of his detention was drawn up. He was not questioned.

Later a police report was finally drawn up. It stated that someone had reported that an allegedly crazy person was running around in the city centre near the local government buildings and calling for the government to be overthrown.

On 22 November Volgograd city court ruled that Anatoly Boltykhov should be kept in a psychiatric hospital. At present a completely healthy person is being given injections in order to make him unwell, so that in future he will not be able to continue his human rights work and defend freedom of expression. This is the first time we are seeing such an unprecedented incident in Russia. An application will be made to the European Court of Human Rights in defence of Anatoly Boltykhov.