LONDON -- Russia's popular gospel-rock musician Valeri Barinov was arrested a week ago and is being held under sedation in a psychiatric hospital in Leningrad, Keston College said today.
The college, which monitors religion in Eastern Europe, said Barinov's wife Tatyana visited him Monday at the Skvortsov-Stepanov psychiatric hospital where she was told he was being given daily injections of the tranquilizer Aminazin.
One doctor, I.V. Kunnapu, told Mrs. Barinov that while her husband was 'not really ill,' his views and beliefs were so different from 'normal Soviet views' that he needed treatment, a Keston College statement said.
'Dr. Kannapu was extremely rude and dismissive of Mrs. Barinov and has systematically taunted Valeri Barinov as a 'renegade' and 'social parasite' since his admission to the hospital,' the college said.
Aminazin, known in the West as Largactil or Thorazine, is one of the most common tranquilizers used in Soviet psychiatric practice for the severely mentally ill, such as schizophrenics, Keston College said.
In recent years, Barinov has become well known as the leader of a Christian rock group called 'The Trumpet Call,' which espouses Christianity during secular appearances.
Keston College said Barinov's work had been particularly effective among Leningrad's drug addicts and alcoholics.
He recently finished Russian and English recordings of a rock opera on the life of Christ. Both were done in 'clandestine conditions,' according to Keston College.
'Barinov has been in an extremely vulnerable position since being registered as a psychiatric case (as a result of his Christian activities) at the beginning of this year,' Keston College said.
'The KGB frequently uses this expedient to avoid embarrassing trials and once the process has been started, there is no legal redress against it.'
The head doctor at the Leningrad psychiatric hospital told Mrs. Barinov that her husband appeared to be in sound mental health, but she has not been told when a special medical commission will meet to decide whether he is sane or not. The couple has two teenage daughters.