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Raisa Radchenko: Psychiatric restraint court order quashed

Halya Coynash

The Zaporizhya Regional Court of Appeal has quashed the order to forcibly had ordered the forced confinement in a psychiatric hospital of 70-year-old civic activist Raisa Radchenko. 

On Thursday 8 August, the Zaporizhya Regional Court of Appeal quashed a lower court ruling which had ordered the forced confinement in a psychiatric hospital of 70-year-old civic activist Raisa Radchenko. 

Raisa Radchenko, her daughter and other activists in Zaporizhya were adamant from the outset that the ruling was aimed at silencing an activist who had recently gathered over 10 thousand signatures on a petition calling for the Mayor’s dismissal.

Raisa Radchenko has still not been given an official copy of her “diagnosis” and this was not shown during the court hearing on Thursday at which the Human Rights Ombudsperson, Valeria Lutkovska was present.. 

The copy photographed during the original court hearing still further fuelled concern about the ruling.  It gave no grounds in the body of the text, and in fact simply described the behaviour of a person with strong convictions before concluding:

she has a “personality and behaviour disorder – as the result of organic damage to the brain (cerebral arteriosclerosis, hypertonic illness); paranoid syndrome with aggressive actions”. 

There was considerable outcry over this case, with Amnesty International issuing two appeals demanding a full investigation, and then also Raisa Radchenko’s release. 

On 17 July the Human Rights Ombudsperson’s Secretariat sent a delegation to Zaporizhya which found no grounds for forced hospitalization.  The Health Ministry then sent a delegation which on 26 July confirmed both the diagnosis and need for treatment, with the report of these discoveries stating:

In particular, the commission established, firstly that treatment was timely; secondly that the treatment of the patient was adequate. All of this made it possible to considerably improve her state of health. Therefore the possibility is being considered of changing the form of treatment from hospital-based to outpatient.”

This was the bad news for Ukrainian medicine.  The good news was that Raisa Radchenko was finally released, having been held in a psychiatric hospital for no reason and against her will for over two weeks.

Her daughter, however, is still facing a charge of “petty hooliganism” linked with her protest at her mother’s forced confinement.

And there is nothing to suggest that a proper investigation will be carried out.  

Among those who raised the alarm over this case was Dmytro Groysman, Coordinator of the Vinnytsa Human Rights Group.  This ruling on Thursday came three days after Dima died of a heart attack.  Dima had suffered from an incurable heart disorder, but had also faced absurd criminal proceedings which had been hanging over him for three years. The criminal prosecution had provoked concern well beyond Ukraine, and had doubtless taken a heavy toll on Dima's state of health. 

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