Russia Courts Send Harsh Anti-protest Message In Two Decisions

Credit: Reuters/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Pool By Alexei Anishchuk NUSA DUA, Indonesia | Tue Oct 8, 2013 5:45pm BST NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Russia and the United States agree on how to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday after meeting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. “We have a common understanding of what needs to be done and how. I am very glad that President (Barack) Obama is occupying this position (on chemical arms),” Putin told reporters at the end of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation trade summit on the Indonesian island of Bali. International experts charged with starting the process of verifying and eliminating chemical weapons arrived in Syria earlier this month. Russia, Syria’s long-time ally and arms supplier, has offered to assist with the demolition process. Putin said he believed experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) would be able to accomplish their goal of ridding Syria of its chemical arms within a year. “We and the Americans, the whole international community trust them,” he said. “If they are saying it is possible to do this (eliminate Syria’s chemical arms) in one year, then that’s the way it is.” The team of experts, supported by the United Nations, aim to oversee destruction of the Syria’s chemical weapons production and mixing equipment by November 1, and deal with all chemical weapons materials by the end of June 2014. Putin praised Syria for cooperation on the plan to destroy its chemical arsenal, a deal brokered by Moscow and Washington last month amid a possibility of U.S. military strikes against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. “The doubts regarding the readiness of the Syrian leadership to adequately respond to the decisions on chemical weapons proved to be unjustified,” he said. “Syria has joined these efforts actively, is acting very transparently…and I hope this work will continue further at the same pace and in the same direction.” Relations between Washington and Moscow are strained by a number of issues, including remaining differences on Syria and Putin’s record on human rights and democracy. Russia has been a staunch supporter of Assad, whose fight against armed opposition groups has taken the lives of 100,000 people in more than two years.

An artisan gives finishing touches to an effigy of demon king Ravana in preparation for the upcoming Hindu festival of Dussehra in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh October 8, 2013. The effigies are burnt during the festival which commemorates the triumph of Lord Rama over Ravana, marking the victory of good over evil. REUTERS/Ajay Verma (INDIA - Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

In a reminder of the Soviet era that reduced even the toughest of former dissidents to tears, a Moscow court ordered a 38-year-old disabled man confined to indefinite psychiatric treatment. Mikhail Kosenko was found guilty Tuesday of rioting and assaulting police at a May 6, 2012, demonstration on the eve of Vladimir Putins inauguration as president. With Malala in the spotlight, Taliban issues new threat Tim Craig and Saleem Mehsud Amid Nobel buzz, the group warns the Pakistani teen it will harm her again if she keeps speaking out. To the north in Murmansk, a ships doctor, a photojournalist on assignment and a former radio reporter who had all been on a Greenpeace ship seized after a protest against Arctic drilling lost their appeal for bail Tuesday. Accused of piracy along with 27 others, they will remain in jail until at least Nov. 24. Kosenko had been classified as disabled ever since he was beaten as a young army draftee in a brutal hazing attack that left him with brain damage. No witnesses said they saw him hitting a police officer. Amnesty International called him a prisoner of conscience. A psychiatrist from the Serbsky Institute, where many dissidents were confined in the Soviet era, said Kosenko was insane. An independent psychiatrist disagreed and pointed out that he had never displayed aggressive behavior. As Kosenkos trial drew to a close Tuesday, Lyudmila Alexeyeva, the chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, an influential human rights organization, sat at a table a few feet from where the prisoner stood in a courtroom cage.

Russia protester gets forced psychiatric treatment

8, 2013 Russia protester gets forced psychiatric treatment Related View Larger Mikhail Kosenko stands in a defendants’ cage during his trial at a district court in Moscow, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Kosenko, one of 28 people arrested after clashes broke out between demonstrators and police at a protest on May, 6, 2012, the eve of President Vladimir Putins inauguration for a third term, has been convicted of calling for mass riots and sent for forced psychiatric treatment. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) View Larger A police officer releases handcuffs from Mikhail Kosenko as he is placed in a defendants’ cage at a district court in Moscow, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Kosenko, one of 28 people arrested after clashes broke out between demonstrators and police at a protest on May, 6, 2012, the eve of President Vladimir Putins inauguration for a third term, has been convicted of calling for mass riots and sent for forced psychiatric treatment. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky) Sponsored Links The Associated Press MOSCOW A protester arrested after a mass anti-Kremlin demonstration last year was found guilty Tuesday of beating a policeman and sent for forced psychiatric treatment, a ruling human rights activists decried as a return to the Soviet practice of using punitive psychiatry against dissidents. Mikhail Kosenko was one of 28 people rounded up after clashes broke out between protesters and police on the eve of Vladimir Putin ‘s inauguration for a third term as Russia’s president. Kosenko was diagnosed in 2001 with mild schizophrenia, but his condition was controlled by medication and he had never shown any aggression, according to a statement from Human Rights Watch. The prosecution, however, said a psychiatric evaluation found that Kosenko was unable to realize the “public danger of his actions” due to a “chronic mental disorder.” Human Rights Watch not only objected to the use of forced psychiatric treatment but also questioned the charges brought against Kosenko. “The majority of the evidence, including from the police officer himself, indicates that Kosenko never touched him,” Tanya Lokshina, the rights group’s Russia program director, said in the statement. Kosenko was among tens of thousands who took part in the protest on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow on May 6, 2012.