Choices in medical treatment and Article 9 ECHR: Milshteyn

The ECtHR is gradually clearing its outstanding backlog of cases against the Russian Federation…

In Milshteyn v Russia  [2023] ECHR 84,  the publications and activities of Elle-Ayat, a movement of sun worshippers in Novosibirsk which preaches healing through faith and nature-based rituals, had been banned. Mr Milshteyn was the leader of the Elle-Ayat group and editor-in-chief of its Zvezda Selennoy [Selenite Star] magazine. The magazine published praise of Elle-Ayat’s self‑treatment methods and testimonials from followers who had been cured by them [1].

In 2010, “an expert” carried out a linguistic examination of Zvezda Selennoy publications for the presence of extremist material. The “expert” found that the publications proclaimed the superiority of Elle-Ayat followers and provoked an intolerant attitude towards non-followers [2]. It was also pointed out that the group had told its followers to refuse science-based medical treatment and to prefer faith healing instead – and forensic medical experts who had studied the medical records of followers who had died had concluded that refusing evidence-based medical treatment had “accelerated the progression” of their diseases [4]. Continue reading