Ihar Pastnou counts on further assistance of human rights defenders
physician Ihar Pastnou, who has received forced medical treatment in
the regional clinical center of Psychiatry and Addiction, is going to
continue to appeal against the decision of the Vitsebsk District
Court which authorized the treatment. If he fails to get the justice
at the national level, he will appeal his sentence at the UN Human
On 20 September Ihar Pastnou was transferred from the psychiatric hospital to a day hospital . He said that he was diagnosed with a "paranoid personality disorder" and was concerned that any independent action to protect his rights could be treated as an exacerbation of the disease. So he designed a power of attorney for the human rights activist Pyotr Ivanov so that the letter could represent his interests.
Psychiatrist Ihar Pastnou was taken to the psychiatric hospital where he worked as a psychiatrist after his last video address to his countrymen, in which he expressed his critical judgment on the state of the Vitsebsk medicine and stated that he was persecuted at work and threatened with the forced psychiatric treatment.
On 16 August Ihar Pastnou was taken to the hospital straight from work. On 21 August compulsory psychiatric treatment was authorized by Vitsebsk District Court, and the trial took place in the absence of Pastnou and his representatives. Human rights defenders managed to get a meeting of the patient with his counsel only several days later.
Ihar Pastnou is convinced that the forced treatment was also stopped thanks to the interference of human rights defenders and the coverage of his situation by the independent media. On 29 August the human rights organization "Amnesty International" declared its readiness to recognize Pastnou a prisoner of conscience, saying his detention could be a consequence of the critical remarks about the national health care system, allowed by him.
On 2 September the Belarusian Helsinki Committee and the Human Rights Center “Viasna” issued a joint statement about the forced hospitalization of Ihar Pastnou. Belarusian human rights activists called on the authorities to immediately release Ihar Pastnou from the psychiatric hospital and to review the decision on his forced treatment within the framework of open court proceedings in compliance with established procedures and the principles of a fair trial.
After the end of outpatient treatment the administration of the Regional Center for Psychiatry and Addiction promised Ihar Pastnou a work in this institution, but at a different position. However, the Vitsebsk medic considers it as necessary to amend the Law "On Mental Health Care", because now, according to him , the medics have " unfettered authority to send anyone to compulsory treatment and prohibit contacts with the outside world".