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Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet-era dissident who uncovered communist abuse, is dying

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Vladimir Bukovsky, a prominent dissident from the Soviet era who became internationally known for uncovering Soviet abuse of psychiatry, died. He was 76.

Bukovsky died of cardiac arrest on Sunday after a period of poor health in Cambridge, England, where he settled after being deported from the Soviet Union in 1976, according to the Bukovsky Center volunteer organization.

Bukovsky spent a total of 12 years in Soviet prisons or psychiatric hospitals because of his fierce criticism of the communist government, and became a symbol of Soviet persecution of divergent opinions.

In 1961 he was banned from the Moscow State University, where he studied biology to write a critical thesis about the Komsomol, the communist youth organization of the Soviet Union.

Bukovsky was first arrested in 1963 for possession of books banned in the Soviet Union, declared mentally ill and sent for treatment to a psychiatric hospital where he spent nearly two years – the first of several stints in Soviet psychiatric institutions. He was arrested again and handed a prison sentence in 1967 for a street protest.

In 1971, Bukovsky smuggled materials that documented the Soviet use of psychiatry for punishing deviant persons. Their publication attracted international outrage and he was quickly arrested. The following year he was sentenced to seven years in prison and labor camp, followed by a further five years of internal exile.

The fate of Bukovsky attracted worldwide attention and in December 1976 the Soviet authorities agreed to exchange it for the imprisoned Chilean communist party leader Luis Corvalan.

His memoir book & # 39; Building a castle & # 39; has been widely published. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, he wrote & # 39; Judgment in Moscow & # 39 ;, a book calling for a trial against the Soviet Communist Party and KGB officials similar to that of the Nazi trials leaders in Nuremberg, Germany.

Bukovsky maintained regular contact with the Russian opposition leaders and often visited his homeland after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He became a fierce critic of the reign of President Vladimir Putin and sought president for the 2008 Russian elections, but election officials rejected his bid, citing procedural reasons.

In 2015, British prosecutors opened a case against Bukovsky for indecent images of children allegedly found on his computer. Bukovsky rejected the accusations and prosecuted prosecutors. His trial was repeatedly adjourned and in 2018 a judge ruled that Bukovsky's health was too bad to testify.

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