Washington is concerned by Moscow's tactic of keeping dissidents in psychiatric wards
The US has called on Russia to immediately release the deputy chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Ilmi Umerov, who is being held in a mental ward.
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"We are extremely concerned by the detention of Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov. We understand that his health condition is now critical and that he remains in a forced psychiatric detention," US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said at a daily press briefing.
"This tactic of detaining dissidents in psychiatric wards is deeply troubling. We join the international community in calling on the Russian Government to release him now," he added.
The 59-year-old activist has been forcefully confined in a psychiatric hospital since August 18, 2016. The outspoken critic of the Russian occupation of Crimea is charged with separatism and extremism.
Umerov's family sounds alarm as his health is quickly deteriorating. Earlier this month the European Union also urged to release the Crimean Tatar leader and provide him with medical aid.