Ihar Pastnou stated that he was forcibly fed medicines
On 9 September Vitsebsk
activist Siarhei Ryzhou received the power of attorney
giving him the right to represent the interests of the Vitsebsk
psychiatrist Ihar Pastnou, signed by the
medics of the Vitsebsk regional psychiatric hospital. However,
several hours after it he was informed that he was prohibited to meet
with Ihar Pastnou who is undergoing a course of forced medical
According to Mr. Ryzhou, it was a problem for him to receive the power of attorney in the hospital – at first the administration told him that Pastnou didn't want him to become his representative:
"But I was deceived, and so was Pastnou, nobody talked with him about me at all. I found it personally from Ihar Pastnou. On 9 September I visited him and we talked for more than an hour. I recorded our confersation, which took place in presence of the head of the medical department, Natallia Vasilyeva, on tape. There were no objections on her part. In some time the room was entered by the deputy chief physician Ihar Svirkunou, who ordered me to erase the recording, threatening that otherwise he wouldn't let me out and would call the police. I had to pretend I erased the recording, but in reality I saved it, as Pastnou sincerely told about what was done to him in the hospital. I left the hospital and in some time phoned to the duty nurse – people are allowed to speak with patients on that phone. However, she put the receiver after hearing my name. I phoned to the doctor's lounge and was told that our relations with Pastnou were restricted on the basis of Article 40 of the Law on Mental Health Care," said Mr. Ryzhou.
The article states that patients of psychiatric hospitals may be limited in their rights on order of the physicians. In particular, they can be prohibited to receive visitors or use their telephones if this can “present danger to the patient or other persons”.
Mr. Ryzhou believes that the restriction on contacts is caused by what Ihar Pastnou said during the meeting. He complained about the insulting methods of forced therapy – his nose is clamped so that he would have to open his mouth and swallow the medicine.
According to Siarhei Ryzhou, Pastnou looks exhausted and scared and the medics were dissatisfied when he asked about the peculiarities of forced medical treatment. The medics also expressed dissent at Ryzhou's promise to solicit for the restriction on foreign travels to the people who are banned entrance to the European Union, and the information that Russian and other foreign human rights defenders are concerned with the fact of his placement in the psychiatric hospital.
Ihar Pastnou has been kept in the 2nd locked ward of the regional center of psychiatry and narcology since 16 August. Earlier he worked there as a psychotherapist in the narcological ward. He became a patient of his former colleagues affter a video message where he once again criticized the regional authorities and the work of the medical institutions in the Vitsebsk region. Ihar Pastnou also stated that he was threatened with involuntary psychiatric treatment. A course of such treatment was authorized on 21 August by Tatsiana Dzehtsiarova, a judge of the Vitsebsk District Court. Pastnou totally disagrees with the court verdict: he wasn't allowed to conclude a service agreement with a counsel and to attend the trial. In general, he is sure that the course of forced psychiatric treatment – is revenge for his criticism of the authorities.
The international human rights organization "Amnesty International" declared its readiness to recognize Pastnou a prisoner of conscience.