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Is Andrei Bondarenko insane?

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  • Is Andrei Bondarenko insane?

    From Amnesty International UK website:-

    On 29 October, trade union activist, Andrei Bondarenko, was ordered to undergo a forced psychiatric examination by a court in Vinnytsya, south west Ukraine. He is in hiding and fears that he will be subjected to psychiatric treatment because of his legitimate trade union and human rights activities.

    Andrei Bondarenko has no record of mental illness and has undergone three psychiatric examinations to prove his sanity, 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.

    Background information

    Andrei Bondarenko started a trade union branch at the factory where he worked in 2006. He was subsequently dismissed from his job but continued as trade union representative, and in 2009 he became the Deputy Head of the regional branch of the independent Ukrainian trade union “Trudyashchi” (workers). He has campaigned tirelessly for the rights of employees in Vinnytsya region and in doing so has threatened the vested interests of powerful local leaders.

    In particular, Bondarenko seems to have angered the authorities for his work with sugar factory workers. These seasonal workers are employed for only a few months a year after the sugar beet harvest and are frequently not paid their salaries.

    Many of these factories are officially owned by shadow companies, although in fact the real owners are influential local people, many of them high up in the local administration. Bondarenko started a campaign of taking the shadow companies to court to demand payment of wages. According to one prosecutor’s statement, he started 80 such cases in 2008 alone.

    The Vinnytsya Prosecutor’s Office has repeatedly attempted to have the local health authority perform a forced psychiatric evaluation on Bondarenko. Attempts in both 2007 and 2009 were closed after Bondarenko travelled to hospitals outside the region and presented certificates stating his sanity.

    When the Prosecutor’s office appealed on 22 October, Andrei Bondarenko travelled to Zhitomyr in the neighbouring region where he arranged to have a third psychiatric examination proving his sanity.

    Nonetheless, on 29 October in a closed session, the judge granted the order for a psychiatric examination. Andrei Bondarenko was not present and was represented by two civil defenders and a lawyer. The lawyer was ordered out of the court room by the panel of judges.

  • #2
    Harassment of Ukraine human rights defenders

    Another case on Amnesty International website:-

    Two recent cases of assaults against Human rights defenders in Ukraine point to a worsening climate for human rights and those who seek to defend them.

    On 15 October, police in Vinnytsya, in the south west of the country, searched the house and office of Dmytro Groysman, the chair of Vinnytsya Human Rights Group, which supports asylum-seekers, and campaigns against torture and ill-treatment. Police questioned staff about their work, and confiscated over 300 items, including UNHCR files, computer discs, memory sticks and a laptop, effectively paralysing the work of the NGO.

    The search was conducted under the pretext of an anti-pornography investigation into a link on Groysman’s personal blog to a video of Russian politicians engaging in sexual acts that had already been widely circulated within the public domain, via YouTube, Russian television and Ukraine news sites. The fact that Dmytro Groysman appears to be the only person under investigation in connection with the video, raises suspicions that the real purpose of the search was to obstruct the activities of the Vinnytsya Human Rights Group, and to investigate their work on human rights. The search was carried out in violation of Ukraine’s Criminal Procedure Code.

    In February this year, the NGO was informed that they were being investigated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for damaging the international image of Ukraine because of their campaigning for a Chechen asylum-seeker. In 2008, Dmytro Groysman was attacked by unknown assailants in an incident he believes was probably linked to his advocacy work on behalf of prisoners.

    Andrei Fedosov, the chair of a mental disability rights organization, Uzer, is also facing harassment. He has publicized allegations of numerous violations of the rights of the people with alleged disabilities in Crimea following monitoring of psychiatric hospitals between February and April 2010. This included allegations of unlawful confinement in a psychiatric institution, and cases of torture and ill-treatment of patients in three psychiatric hospitals.

    Fedosov was assaulted by unknown men in May, after receiving threatening phone calls in April. Police took no action. In July he was detained for a day in relation to a crime allegedly committed 10 years ago when he was 15 years old. On 20 September the charges against him were dropped as it was proved that he was in a closed children’s hospital at the time and could not have committed the crime. He currently fears for his safety and suspects that police may continue to obstruct his work with false charges.

    Amnesty International is alarmed that these two activists appear to be targeted because of their legitimate human rights work, and calls on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that they are able to carry out their activities as human rights defenders unhindered, and protected from violence or threats.

    Comment


    • #3
      Is this not the old Soviet way? Declare them insane and then commit them to hospital under horrific conditions. Are the gulags returning?

      Comment


      • #4
        Andrei Bondarenko (continued

        Further information on UA: 232/10 Index: EUR 50/013/2010

        PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 JANUARY 2011 .
        Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

        Ukrainian trade union activist Andrei Bondarenko has now been ordered to undergo a forced psychiatric examination on 13 December. He fears that he might be administered drugs or even detained against his will as a result of the examination.

        Andrei Bondarenko, who has no record of mental illness, was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination by the Court in Vinnytsya, south west Ukraine on 29 October 2010. The Appeal Court upheld this ruling on 23 November; subsequently Andrei Bondarenko appealed against this decision to the High Court on Criminal and Civil Cases. Although no date was set for the hearing in the High Court, Andrei Bondarenko has already received a summons from the Vinnytsa Region Psycho-neurological Hospital dated 2 December to undergo a psychiatric examination on 13 December. If he does not attend the examination voluntary on 13 December, he will be forced to undergo the examination the following day.

        Amnesty International is concerned that any such examination within the Vinnytsya Region would not be impartial and therefore maintains its call that any examination should be outside the Vinnytsya Region, with the participation of a psychiatrist from the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association.

        PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Ukrainian, Russian or your own language:

        - Expressing concern that Andrei Bondarenko was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination on 13 December in the hospital in the Vinnytsya region before his appeal against such examination is considered by the High Court.

        - Urging the authorities not to carry out such an examination in the Vinnytsya region to ensure impartiality, ensure the participation of a psychiatrist from the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association, and that he not be subjected to any treatment until he 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 and retaliation”.

        PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 JANUARY 2011 TO:
        Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

        Prosecutor General
        Viktor Pshonka
        Vul Riznitska 13/15
        01601 Kyiv,
        Ukraine
        Fax: + 380 44 280 2851
        Salutation: Dear Prosecutor

        President
        Viktor Yanukovych
        Bankovaya Str. 11
        01220 Kyiv,
        Ukraine
        Fax: +380 44 255 6161
        e-mail: press@stpu.gov.ua
        Salutation: Dear President

        Ombudsman
        Nina Karpachova
        Vul Instytutska 21/8
        01008 Kyiv,
        Ukraine
        e-mail: omb@ombudsman.kiev.ua
        Salutation: Dear Ombudsman

        Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country

        Ambassade d’Ukraine
        Avenue Albert Lancaster 30-32
        1180 UCCLE
        eMail: emb_be@mfa.gov.ua
        Fax 02.379.21.79

        This is the first update of UA: 232/10 (Index: EUR 50/011/2010). Further information: Ukraine: Activist may face forced psychiatric treatment | Amnesty International

        Comment


        • #5
          Andrei Bondarenko (continued)

          I failed to pursue this story over the Christmas / New Year period resulting from my trip to Egypt and subsequent return to the UK, but it seems that there was some development over this important human rights case since my first post. I have cust and posted the following text from Amnesty International website:-

          Further information on UA: 232/10 Index: EUR 50/013/2010

          PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 JANUARY 2011 .
          Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

          Ukrainian trade union activist Andrei Bondarenko has now been ordered to undergo a forced psychiatric examination on 13 December. He fears that he might be administered drugs or even detained against his will as a result of the examination.

          Andrei Bondarenko, who has no record of mental illness, was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination by the Court in Vinnytsya, south west Ukraine on 29 October 2010. The Appeal Court upheld this ruling on 23 November; subsequently Andrei Bondarenko appealed against this decision to the High Court on Criminal and Civil Cases. Although no date was set for the hearing in the High Court, Andrei Bondarenko has already received a summons from the Vinnytsa Region Psycho-neurological Hospital dated 2 December to undergo a psychiatric examination on 13 December. If he does not attend the examination voluntary on 13 December, he will be forced to undergo the examination the following day.

          Amnesty International is concerned that any such examination within the Vinnytsya Region would not be impartial and therefore maintains its call that any examination should be outside the Vinnytsya Region, with the participation of a psychiatrist from the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association.

          PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Ukrainian, Russian or your own language:

          - Expressing concern that Andrei Bondarenko was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination on 13 December in the hospital in the Vinnytsya region before his appeal against such examination is considered by the High Court.

          - Urging the authorities not to carry out such an examination in the Vinnytsya region to ensure impartiality, ensure the participation of a psychiatrist from the Ukrainian Psychiatric Association and the World Psychiatric Association, and that he not be subjected to any treatment until he 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 and retaliation”.

          PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 19 JANUARY 2011 TO:
          Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

          Prosecutor General
          Viktor Pshonka
          Vul Riznitska 13/15
          01601 Kyiv,
          Ukraine
          Fax: + 380 44 280 2851
          Salutation: Dear Prosecutor

          President
          Viktor Yanukovych
          Bankovaya Str. 11
          01220 Kyiv,
          Ukraine
          Fax: +380 44 255 6161
          e-mail: press@stpu.gov.ua
          Salutation: Dear President

          Ombudsman
          Nina Karpachova
          Vul Instytutska 21/8
          01008 Kyiv,
          Ukraine
          e-mail: omb@ombudsman.kiev.ua
          Salutation: Dear Ombudsman

          Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country

          Ambassade d’Ukraine
          Avenue Albert Lancaster 30-32
          1180 UCCLE
          eMail: emb_be@mfa.gov.ua
          Fax 02.379.21.79

          This is the first update of UA: 232/10 (Index: EUR 50/011/2010). Further information: Ukraine: Activist may face forced psychiatric treatment | Amnesty International

          Comment


          • #6
            Trade Union Activist still facing examination

            Latest from Amnesty International website:
            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.

            PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Ukrainian, Russian or your own language:

            Expressing concern that Andrei Bondarenko continues to be at risk of a psychiatric examination against his will and asking for the reasons behind a compulsory medical assessment such as this

            Urging that should such an examination be ordered by the court, that it is carried out with due regard to forensic professional standards and impartiality, including by undertaking such an assessment outside the Vinnytsya region,;

            Urging the authorities to ensure that any examining doctor is in good standing with the relevant Ukrainian medical and psychiatric bodies and works within a professional and human rights framework set out by the World Health Organization, the World Psychiatric Association and the United Nations

            Urging that no compulsory medication or other treatment be contemplated before Andrei Bondarenko completes any legal appeals available to him

            Reminding the authorities that they should ensure that human rights defenders can carry out their lawful activities unhindered in conformity with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (1999)

            Urging the authorities to review the procedures undertaken in this case in cooperation with impartial psychiatric and legal experts in Ukraine




            PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 3 MARCH 2011 TO:

            Prosecutor General

            Viktor Pshonka

            Vul Riznitska 13/15

            01601 Kyiv, Ukraine

            Fax: +380 44 280 2851

            Salutation: Dear Prosecutor







            President

            Viktor Yanukovych

            Bankovaya Str. 11

            01220 Kyiv, Ukraine

            Fax: +380 44 255 6161

            e-mail: press@stpu.gov.ua

            Salutation: Dear President Yanukovych




            Ombudsperson

            Nina Karpachova

            Vul Instytutska 21/8

            01008 Kyiv, Ukraine

            e-mail: omb@ombudsman.kiev.ua

            Salutation: Dear Ombudsperson

            Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the second update of UA 232/10. Further information: Ukraine: Activist may face forced psychiatric treatment | Amnesty International

            URGENT ACTION
            Aditional 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 was "sane".

            Comment

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