Uzbek dissident in psychiatric hospital


A woman arrested in Uzbekistan for distributing an anti-corruption cartoon says authorities want her to say she is mentally ill.

The BBC reports that Yelena Urlayeva is being held in Republican Psychiatric Hospital No. 2, a prison-like Stalinist relic outside Tashkent. A reporter was able to talk to her briefly through a barred window and she said she had been beaten in an effort to get her to admit illness, the news agency said.

Growing dissent in Uzbekistan has led to a wave of arrests. Urlayeva was picked up in August while she was handing out copies of a cartoon that depicted the country as a cow with bureaucrats sucking its milk.

She was examined immediately afterwards by a psychiatrist who declared that she was not mentally ill.