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Startseite Urgent Actions 2010 11 Activist may face forced psychiatric treatment Trade union activist still facing examination
FI 232/10-2
Abgeschlossen am 3. März 2011

Trade union activist still facing examination

AI-Index: EUR 50/001/2011

Trade union activist Andrei Bondarenko was not made to undergo a compulsory psychiatric examination on 13 December 2010, as had been scheduled. He believes that public and international pressure, including the appeals sent by the UA network, helped bring this about.

His lawyer lodged an appeal against the forcible examination before the High Court on Criminal and Civil Cases in 2010, but he has not yet been told of a hearing being scheduled. The Court is not obliged to notify him or his lawyer in advance of any such hearing which would be carried out in their absence. If the High Court rejects his appeal, he may be still at risk of compulsory examination. Any such examination carried out within the Vinnytsya Region is unlikely to be impartial because of the political pressure that could be brought to bear on the examining doctor and because of the previous position adopted by the psychiatric hospital in seeking to examine Andrei Bondarenko against his wishes. Amnesty International has serious doubts as to the need for another psychiatric assessment examination of Andrei Bondarenko but, should his appeal fail and the court order stand, any assessment should be carried out impartially and in conformity with international professional standards by a psychiatrist with forensic competence who is in good standing with Ukrainian psychiatric bodies.

Additional Information

Andrei Bondarenko has no record of mental illness and has undergone three voluntary psychiatric examinations to assess his mental health, the most recent of which was in October 2010. Among the reasons quoted by prosecutors for him to be examined is his "excessive awareness of his own and others' rights and his uncontrollable readiness to defend these rights in unrealistic ways."

In 2007, the Vinnytsya Prosecutor’s Office twice asked local health authority officials in Vinnytsya to request compulsory psychiatric examinations of Andrei Bondarenko. The first request was turned down by a judge in July 2007 on the basis that the hospital had not formulated the request correctly. The second request was turned down in August of the same year after Andrei Bondarenko went voluntarily to a psychiatrist in Vinnytsya regional hospital and received a certificate stating that he "sane" (or other wording if we know it).

In January 2009, he was detained outside his house and charged with refusing to show his identity documents to the police. He was sentenced to 10 days' administrative detention, but on the seventh day he was again taken to civic court where a third request for a psychiatric examination was presented by the Vinnytsya regional psychiatric hospital. The hospital claimed that Andrei Bondarenko had previously requested a psychiatric consultation from them, although he denies this, and a hospital representative submitted a request for the hospital's doctors to represent the interests of Andrei Bondarenko at the court hearing. However, this third request was turned down by the court.

In August 2010, following the fourth request for his examination, Andrei Bondarenko travelled to the town of Gaisin in Vinnytsya Region (100 km south of Vinnytsya) where he arranged to have a voluntary psychiatric examination to assess his mental health. On the basis of the certificate he received confirming his sound mental health, the request for a compulsory psychiatric examination was turned down by the court. The Prosecutor’s office appealed against this decision and, in addition to the civil proceedings, filed criminal charges against Andrei Bondarenko for allegedly using false data to conduct the examination in August. Following the release of the previous Urgent Action and the publicity around the case, the criminal charges against Andrei Bondarenko were dropped on 29 November. The order for a compulsory examination ordered by the court in Vinnytsya on 29 October 2010 and upheld by the Appeal Court on 23 November 2010 is now under appeal to the High Court of Ukraine.

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