Appeal to the Valsileostrovsky court of Saint-Petersburg
We, the undersigned civil activists and journalists writing on the topic of mental health ask the court to immediately change the measure of restraint for Aleksandra (Sasha) Skochilenko.
Alexandra was detained on April 11, 2022, the reason being an art action criticizing the military special operation of the RF Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine. Sasha is now charged with article 207.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Discrediting the Armed Forces, committed for reasons of political hatred.”
In her works as both a journalist and an activist Alexandra has made a huge contribution to the fight against prejudice surrounding the topic of mental disorders. In her ‘Book of Depression’, she utilized simple examples to introduce the readers to the issue of an illness that affects millions of Russians. In a simple yet witty manner Alexandra breaks down the basics - symptoms, treatment and the necessity of early intervention for those suffering from this condition. Her materials were designed to become one of the first works published in Russian for a Russian audience to draw attention to a disease that already affects more than 300 million people worldwide.
"Book of depression"
We call for action! Here’s why it’s important
For health reasons Alexandra is in great danger, and might very well die due to the extremely poor conditions of detention in the pre-trial detention facility. Our colleague suffers from a rare genetic condition - celiac disease, a serious autoimmune malfunction that manifests in severe gluten intolerance. Gluten is a vegetable protein commonly found in the majority of foods, such as bread, rice, canned products etc. Those suffering from gluten intolerance should stick to a strict diet to avoid complications since their bodies are unable to process this protein. The Russian detention system is unable and unwilling to provide Sasha with the kind of food she should be consuming according to her treatment, which means that in her case she will most likely suffer from complications that will lead to a gradual decline in health and may even put her life at risk. It is important to note that Sasha is also officially diagnosed with cyclothymia, a mood disorder that requires medical treatment.
Sasha’s friends and supporters regularly attest to the fact that specific dietary products they try to send Sasha are not being accepted by the staff of the detention center. They also confirm numerous miscommunications with the representatives of said detention center. Official representatives of the facility fail to provide the public with any legitimate reason for rejection of these transfers. Information we get from the layers, however, confirms that Alexandra’s physical and mental health is already rapidly declining.
Sasha in the courtroom. Source: Fontanka
According to Article 4 of the Federal Law from July 15, 1995 N 103-Federal Legislation "On the detention of suspects and those accused of committing crimes", detention should be carried out in "accordance with the principles of legality, justice, presumption of innocence, humanism and equality of all citizens before the law’. We strongly believe that the detention of a person with several chronic conditions is contrary to the basic provisions of both Russian and international law.
Alexandra has already been supported by psychiatrists, psychotherapists and mental health specialists. The petition for changing the measure of restraint has already been signed by more than 140.000 Russians.
Based on the foregoing we demand that Aleksandra's preventive measure should be immediately replaced with a non-custodial preventive measure. We also demand for a fair and transparent trial under the criminal article, which Sasha is accused of violating.
People who were signed appeal (13.09.2022)
Total signatures: 427
Public signatures: 273