Critical doctor files defamation suit
Vitsebsk doctor Ihar Pastnou believes that the city’s Kastrychnitski district administration insulted him by banning a picket against police lawlessness. Hesays that he wants to recover from the officials three thousand Euros in damages, and if he wins in court he promises to give the money to a local orphanage.
Ihar Pastnousays the officials should not hide the negative facts and speak about them openly. He viewsthe ban on the rally he had planned to stage in January as another attempt to conceal the true state of things. Pastnou believes that cases of unjustified police brutality are increasing, and therefore there is a need to review recruitment procedures to remove employees who are prone to violence and sadism.
In addition, the protest was conceived as a requiem in memory of those who became victims to police abuse. However, the event wasnot allowed. He is confident that the ban isa violation of his civil rights. He also views it as an insult, since he was not allowed to honor the memory of friends who have been victims of police brutality.
The critical doctor has repeatedly criticized the government and the health caresystem in his video appeals. After one of them was posted online in August last year, he was forcibly sent for compulsory psychiatric treatment. He now seeks an independent psychiatric examination to review his diagnosis, and is fighting for changes in the existing "Law on Mental Health Care". According to him, the law paves the way for the use of "punitive psychiatry" as a means of silencingdissent.