AI URGENT ACTION: Forced psychiatric treatment for activist: Raisa Radchenko
A 70-year old human rights activist in Ukraine has been detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will, apparently in retaliation for her activism.
Raisa Radchenko is a member of several local citizens’ associations in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine and has actively campaigned against local corruption and police abuse, supporting local people who have attempted to claim their rights. In early June she visited the capital Kyiv to present petitions on behalf of residents of Zaporizhzhya to the Prosecutor General’s office and the Presidential Administration. She had previously also organized a petition asking for the resignation of the Mayor of Zaporizhzhya.
Daryna Radchenko, Raisa Radchenko’s daughter, reported that on 10 July two police officers and a psychiatrist came to their home and informed Raisa Radchenko that there had been a court decision stating that she should be subjected to an in-patient psychiatric examination. She has no history of mental illness. Raisa Radchenko refused to open the door because they were unable to produce any documents confirming the court decision. On 11 July she went with her daughter and five year-old grandson to Lenin District Court for more information. According to Daryna Radchenko as many as 30 police officers immediately detained her mother and restrained all three; Daryna Radchenko sustained bruising on her arm. The following day Daryna Radchenko met the head doctor at the Zaporizhzhya Regional Psychiatric Hospital and was informed that a court decision had been taken based on the testimony of two cleaners working in Raisa Radchenko’s block who reported anti-social behaviour. Only subsequently did Daryna Radchenko see a copy of the court decision ordering an in-patient psychiatric evaluation.
On 13 July, Daryna Radchenko saw her mother briefly in the psychiatric hospital and found out that she was already being treated in the absence of any court decision authorizing her forced psychiatric treatment. Doctors had administered Aminazin, a strong sedative often used in the treatment of manic depression and schizophrenia. Her daughter also noticed bruises on her mother’s body. On 15 July a court ordered that Raisa Radchenko should be treated as a psychiatric in-patient because she displayed behaviour that “posed a threat to society”.
Please write immediately in Ukrainian, Russian or your own language:
Asking for Raisa Radchenko to be given a psychiatric examination outside the Zaporizhya Region to ensure impartiality, with the participation of a psychiatrist from the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association, and that she not be subjected to any treatment until she has exhausted all legal remedies;
Reminding the authorities that they have an obligation not only to ensure that human rights defenders can carry out their activities unhindered but also to protect them against any violence, threats, or retaliation in conformity with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1999);
Asking for an investigation into the alleged ill-treatment of Daryna Radchenko and Raisa Radchenko by police officers.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 AUGUST 2013 TO:
Vul Riznitska 13/15
01601 Kyiv, Ukraine
Fax: + 380 44 280 2851�Salutation: Dear Prosecutor
Vul Instytutska 21/8
01008 Kyiv, Ukraine
Salutation: Dear Ombudsman �
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
Amnesty International has previously raised the issue of the use of forced psychiatric treatment against human rights defenders. In November 2009 Andrei Bondarenko, a trade union activist in Vinnytsya region of Ukraine was threatened with forced psychiatric treatment, but the order for his treatment was overturned after Amnesty International issued an Urgent Action on his case (UA: 232/10 Index: EUR 50/001/2011 http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR50/011/2010/en)