are now being collected in support of the letter to the President of
the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev protesting the imprisonment and
barbaric treatment of Elena Ermakova, a home midwife and the director
of the Center for Parental Culture, Saint-Petersburg. Elena, 40, has
five children (the three youngest are 2, 4 and 8 years old) and is in
her ninth month of pregnancy.
She is charged with illegal medical
practice (and yes, she is a M.D.). The paradox of the situation is that
the Russian law does not forbid to give birth at home, but does not
allow to provide women wishing to do so with adequate medical
assistance, since a license to perform midwifery services cannot be
obtained and and practising without a license is illegal.
The decision to imprison Dr. Ermakova was made by the court judge S.
Komaretskaya, St. Petersburg, Primorskiy district, on March 30, 2009 (case
1-123/09) based on Elena’s failure to attend court hearings on that day
due to illness. A written statement from Elena saying that she was
unwell and had to seek medical help was presented to the Judge by
Elena’s husband and her attorney, but did not influence the court’s
decision. A medical document from Elena’s obstetrician confirming
Elena’s illness didn’t help, either. Elena was taken into custody right
from the doctor’s office.
prison, besides insufferable conditions, Elena was abused, both
verbally and physically. She is in a very poor state, undernourished,
suffering from cardiac pain and expressing suicidal thoughts. Prison
doctors cannot be trusted here, for they are part of the system and the
case strongly smells with politics. The justice system in Russia is
corrupted as ever. The local Human Rights representative, Mr.Mikhailov,
did not responded to a letter send by Elena’s husband and co-signed by
500 people who knew her personally.
We have less than one week left before we submit the letter.
Please sign and pass this information on to any potentially interested parties, be it organizations or private persons.
those who speak both English and Russian, you are more than welcome to
sign twice. Please leave your name, the place of residence,
professional occupation and any comments you may want to add.
The Russian text of the letter is here:
The English translation of the letter is here: