It is today beyond genuine dispute that the Soviet authorities systematically intern dissenters in mental institutions. Through dissident sources, Amnesty International has learned in some detail of 305 cases of such internment between 1969 and 1983. Other sources report more than 500 "well-authenticated cases" from 1962 through 1983. The total number of interned dissenters, however, may actually be much higher. In 1981, a senior official in the Soviet Ministry of Health told a nationwide congress of psychiatrists that 1.2 percent of admissions at one Moscow mental institution were "in connection with visits to State agencies to present groundless complaints and slanderous statements."' Based on estimates of the total number of patients in Soviet psychiatric hospitals, some have figured from this revelation that up to 6000 persons nationwide may be interned for acts of dissent.
M. G. Bloche,
Law, Theory, and Politics: The Dilemma of Soviet Psychiatry,
Yale J. Int'l L.
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