Russian woman sews her mouth shut in protest of Putin's censorship

·2-min read

A Russian woman is facing prosecution after sewing her mouth shut in protest of Vladimir Putin's anti-war censorship during the country's invasion of Ukraine.

Police arrested Nadezhda Sayfutdinova on Wednesday in the city of Yekaterinburg, before allegedly using "brute force" to try and lock her in a psychiatric facility.

Ms Sayfutdinova, who is in her 30s, had sewn her own mouth and stood in a one-woman protest on a street with a poster.

It read: "You cannot keep silent!!! You cannot keep silent!!! The price is our consciousness. War is not peace!!! Freedom is not slavery!!! Ignorance is not power!!!"

Russian Nadezhda Sayfutdinova holding the poster with her mouth sewed shut.
Nadezhda Sayfutdinova was arrested on Wednesday after she held a one-woman protest on a Russian street. Source: East2West/Australscope

She hit out at the "moral code" in Putin’s Russia which gagged people over the war.

"My mouth was really sewn with a needle and thread," Ms Sayfutdinova told OVD-Info human rights defenders.

"An ambulance was called to the [police] station to inspect the damage and remove the threads.

"I sewed it myself."

Woman released after pressure from public

The activist was taken first to a trauma clinic then to the city’s psychiatric clinic No.3, with her lawyer Fedor Akchermyshev and OVD-Info calling for public support to secure her release.

"You can ring the clinic's reception or the prosecutor on duty and demand the illegal detention and forced hospitalisation of Sayfutdinova is stopped," a message read.

Ms Sayfutdinova claims the police "treated [her] without violations, but they called a psychiatric team, which used brute force".

Nadezhda Sayfutdinova with her mouth sewed shut in protest of Putin
The activist has hit out at Putin's anti-war censorship. Source: East2West/Australscope

"I refused to go. One of the members of this team claimed that he was a psychiatrist," she said.

“He told my lawyer that he was useless and insulted him. He told me that I was now restricted in my rights…

"Then they dragged me by force.

"I was in shock — this was punitive psychiatry. It was very scary."

The attempt to have the activist sectioned failed, but she is still facing prosecution for discrediting the Russian armed forces.

The groundswell of public demands for her to be released led to her being set free.

"I am very grateful to the people who tried to help me and rang the [clinic's] reception, demanding to let me go," Ms Sayfutdinova said.

East2West/Australscope

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