World Psychiatric Association accepts withdrawal of Soviet Union

VIENNA, Austria -- The World Psychiatric Association Sunday accepted the resignation of the Soviet Union and two East Bloc countries accused of committing dissidents to mental hospitals for political ends.

An Association source said the executive board voted to name dissident Soviet psychiatrist Anatoly Koryagin a WPA honorary member. Koryagin was sentenced to prison for investigating the use of psychiatry for political purposes in the Soviet Union.


Psychiatric associations in the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Bulgaria had announced their withdrawal from the WPA, charging the body was a political tool of the West following moves to expel the Soviet Union for political abuse of psychiatry.

Conference sources said a number of third world countries, including India and Brazil, 'had been wavering' as to whether to join the pullout but had not yet made a decision.

There was no immediate official announcement on the board's decision at its Sunday session ahead of the formal opening Monday of the 7th World Congress of Psychiatry. The board meets again Thursday and sources said further resolutions were expected.

Political abuse of psychiatry and how the association should deal with it is the major behind-the-scenes issue at the congress, which otherwise hears hundreds of scientific papers on all aspects of psychiatry.


A Swiss psychiatrist -- one of more than 5,000 delegates from around the world gathered in Vienna for the week-long meeting -- accused Hungary of psychiatric abuse in its treatment of dissidents.

The Austrian state-run news agency Sunday quoted Dr. Charles Durand as saying he examined the 59-year old Hungarian dissident Tibor Pakh for three days in April 1982 and found him in good mental health.

The agency said the dissident had been forceably interned in a psychiatric institution in Hungary from 1963 to 1971, and then placed under mandatory psychiatric surveillance and interned several times temporarily.

Hungarian authorities had diagnosed the former lawyer, who was first imprisoned in 1960 after having written a memorandum about young Hungarians executed after the 1956 Soviet invasion, as suffering from 'paranoid schizophrenia'.

Durand, who is president of 'The Association Against the Political Abuse of Psychiatry' in Switzerland, plans to bring the case before a committee of the World Psychiatric Association, which has only reviewed cases involving Soviet dissidents up to now.

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