Ihar Pastnou: “Psychiatry is a very sharp weapon of the State”
Ihar Pastnou, a doctor from Vitsebsk, who was for more than a month subjected to compulsory psychiatric treatment and then was discharged to outpatient treatment, went to work a few days ago. The administration of the regional center of psychiatry and addiction transferred him to another position: now he is employed in a psychiatric clinic. He says his new job suits him, but disagrees with a diagnosis of "personality disorder".
Ihar Pastnou believes that he was diagnosed without good reason. “I have no suspicion, nor the inclination to distort the facts. I never told about any personal insults, any pressure on me. I did not have the idea of sacking chairman of the executive committee Aliaksandr Kozinets. I have no complaints about him personally, but about his actions. Why a two-storey house for regional officials appears in Vitsebsk, while the infectious diseases hospital has been under reconstruction for four years already? This should be spoken out loud in order to resolve the problems,” says the doctor.
The doctor was forcibly placed in a psychiatric hospital shortly after another critical video address posted on YouTube. The initiative came from his colleagues - the head of the Regional Centre for Psychiatry and Addiction Alena Martynava initiated a meeting of the commission, which in the absence of Pastnou made conclusions about the deterioration of his mental health. On this basis, the court of Vitsebsk district authorized the forced psychiatric treatment. It was also done in his absence, says Ihar Pastnou.
“My colleagues made their findings, and the court took them into account. It seems that everything is legitimate, why should the court question the experts’ opinion? But psychiatry is a very sharp weapon of the State. It can be used in any situation, whether there is a dispute over property, when someone wants to declare another person incompetent, if a person makes too bold political steps. Yes, the boy who clapped his hands in the square can also be declared a person with inappropriate behavior! As for me, for example, they wrote that in my mental state, I can injure myself. Not others, but and myself! And for this reason I was seized right in the workplace and was placed in mental hospital, not allowed to go to court, forced to take drugs... But this is not about me, as long as there exists the law "On Psychiatric Health Care", any one may be in my place,” says the doctor.
The doctor, labeled a “straight-shooter” by non-state media, wants to initiate amendments to the existing law. He is convinced that he was discharged from a psychiatric hospital, where he stayed from August 16 to September 20, primarily due to the intervention of the public. On August 29, the human rights organization “Amnesty International” said it was ready to recognize Pastnou a prisoner of conscience. On September 2, came a joint statement by the BHC and the Human Rights Center "Viasna" about the forced hospitalization of Ihar Pastnou. There appeared several online petitions to collect signatures for his release.
Now Mr. Pastnou hopes that human rights activists will join his initiative on amending the law " On Psychiatric Health Care".