Ihar Pastnou applies to the Supreme Court
Vitsebsk medic attempts to challenge the decision of the Vitsebsk District Court, which sanctioned his compulsory psychiatric treatment in the absence of Mr. Pastnou and his lawyer. The appeals to the regional court and to the head of the regional court yielded no results.
According to Mr. Pastnou, the appeal was composed with the assistance of the Vitsebsk human rights activist Pyotr Ivanov. The complaint mentions that he was kept in isolation during his stay in Vitsebsk regional psychiatric hospital: all visits, correspondence and even telephone calls were banned. Because of this, he could not inform his friends about the trial or contact his lawyer so that the latter could represent him there. He wasn't taken to the trial at Vitsebsk District Court. Mr. Pastnou considers it all to be a violation of his rights and therefore offers to introduce immediate changes to the law "On Mental Health Care":
"Theseare not just violations, these are legalized violations. I consider it necessary to amend the existing law on the provision of mental health care, as it gives medics unlimited power over the patient. By their order a patient can be isolated, forbidden to maintain mail correspondence and anycommunication, including on the phone. He can neither complain of torture or bullying, nor contact a lawyer, as it happened in my case."
Ihar Pastnou was taken to the mental hospital shortly after one of his critical speeches. In a video distributed over the Internet, he criticized the work of medical institutions, including the Center for Narcology and Psychiatry, where he worked as a narcologist. Pastnou reflected about the waste of the budget means on coding for alcoholism at the public expense and about the disastrous state of Vitsebsk hospitals that are not repaired for years. The administration of the Center for Narcology and Psychiatry reporached him for "unethical behavior", and threatened him with forced displacement for psychiatric treatment. Finally, it was really done, on 16 August Ihar Pastnou was taken to the psychiatric ward right at his work, and on 23 August the court sanctioned for his compulsory psychiatric treatment.
Mr. Pastnou disagrees with the diagnosis of "personality disorder on the paranoid type". He demands an independent examination by specialists rather than by his colleagues from Vitsebsk . He is convinced that his case is an example of punitive psychiatry – a famous Soviet-era means of dealing with dissent:
"Such diagnosis can be spread on anything. If you see shortcomings around – then you are paranoid, if you think you were taken to hospital for criticism – then you have a persecution complex, if you criticize the chairman of the executive committee or your own administration – then you have an exaggerated self-esteem ... and so on and on! All these are the grounds for placement to hospital with “exacerbation of the disease”, and any politician, human rights activist or journalist can be put there, or even an ordinary perso , whom somebody wants to declare incompetent for selfish reasons . That's why I 'm trying to defend the violated rights, to let everyone know that I could not be intimidated. But I also do not want such methods to be used for the intimidation of others."