Kazakhstan: ICJ welcomes release of a lawyer from psychiatric detention

The ICJ welcomes the release on 1 November of lawyer Zinaida Mukhotorova, from a psychiatric facility in Astana, Kazakhstan.

The lawyer was forcibly detained in the psychiatric facility, the “Medical Centre of the Problems of Psychiatric Health”, for almost three months.

Despite her release, the results of the psychiatric examination were said to be pending.

“While this release is welcome, the ICJ remains concerned that Zinaida Mukhotorova’s detention represented a reprisal for her legitimate exercise of her professional duties as a lawyer, in violation of her right to liberty as well as the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers,”  said Róisín Pillay, Director of the ICJ Europe Regional Programme.  “It must now be ensured that Zinaida Mukhotorova can challenge the legality of her detention through fair procedures, and receive appropriate measures of reparation for any violation of her human rights” she added.

Zinaida Mukhtorova was placed in the psychiatric facility on 9 August after she was forcibly taken from her house by several police officers and medical personnel.

Among the reasons given for her detention were her “possibly querulous” and “litigious” activity.

The ICJ previously raised concern that her psychiatric detention was being justified on grounds consisting in the exercise of her legitimate professional functions as a lawyer.

The ICJ continues to monitor the case, including ongoing legal challenges in the Kazakhstan courts to the lawfulness of Zinaida Mukhtorova’s detention in psychiatric facilities on this and another previous occasion.

In this regard, the ICJ calls on the government to ensure fairness of the proceedings challenging her detention.


Róisín Pillay, Director, ICJ Europe Programme, roisin.pillay(a)icj.org

Temur Shakirov, Legal Adviser, ICJ Europe Programme, temur.shakirov(a)icj.org

Kazakhstan-Mukhtorova statement-news-webstory-2013-Rus (full text in pdf)

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