Zinaida Mukhortova forcibly treated at a psychiatric hospital; activist’s health and life now at risk

  • 25.07.2014
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On 24 July 2014 the Kazakhstani human right advocate Zinaida Mukhortova was transferred to an ICU. The woman was administered an injection of an unknown substance, after which her condition rapidly deteriorated. The international community must intervene immediately; otherwise the dissenting activist’s health is at risk of irreparable damage at the hands of the psychiatric hospital staff.

On 24 July 2014 Zinaida Mukhortova was visited at the psychiatric hospital by her sister, Natalya Abent. The latter told the Open Dialog Foundation that Mukhortova’s face was swollen and her eyes were blood-shot. She was staggering as she walked, and her speech was slurred. Mukhortova said she had begun to feel unwell after receiving an injection of unknown substance on the orders of the Chief Physician Rysbek Iskakov.

According to Abent, until 24 July 2014 Mukhortova had not received any medications or injections, however, now she has been transferred to intensive care. On 25 July 2014 Abent sought audience with Rustem Dyusembayev, public prosecutor in Balkhash, to file a complaint about the chief physician’s actions. She had to spend four and a half hours (from 9:00 till 13:30) in Dyusembayev’s waiting room, while she insisted that she had to meet the prosecutor. When Dyusembayev finally agreed to receive Abent, he asked his deputy to handle her complaint and left for lunch.

As a reminder: the persecution of Mukhortova began after she urged Kazakhstan’s government to investigate the reports regarding a certain MP’s alleged corruption activities. The medical report on her case states that Mukhortova “suffers from a delusional disorder” since she “denies her guilt” and “harasses a member of parliament.” Mukhortova was kept at a number of hospitals for more than 12 months, 9 of which as an inmate at the national restricted mental hospital alongside deranged dangerous offenders. In 2012 by rulings of Kazakhstani courts the activist was rehabilitated and released from involuntary treatment. However, in August 2013 a readmission was sanctioned. On 2 July 2014 Mukhortova was forcibly hospitalised for a fourth time, in defiance of conclusions made by several Kazakhstani commissions and international experts, who confirmed her sanity.

International human rights organisations, European lawyer associations, and the members of the European Parliament demanded the immediate release of Mukhortova, saying that forcible mental treatment could be a reprisal for her professional activities [1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7]. 

We urge the representatives of the OSCE, UN, and EU missions to the Republic of Kazakhstan to visit Mukhortova at the hospital in Balkhash and monitor the conditions of her confinement, as well as scrutinise the reasonableness of her forcible hospitalisation. It is of particular importance that the EU representatives demand the following of Kazakhstan’s government: 

  • Immediately release Zinayda Mukhortova.
  • Hold an expert re-examination, with involvement of European specialists if necessary.
  • Bring to justice all those who were party to unlawful hospitalisation of the human rights activist.
  • Review the grounding and legality of the results of works by court and medical experts who deemed the activist to be mentally ill.
  • Take into account the findings of medical committees and international experts who confirmed the mental soundness of the activist.

We urge the international community to render all necessary assistance which could save the activist’s life.

All parties interested are welcome to support our cause by sending their letters to the following addresses:

  • GU “Psychoneurotic specialized clinic” of Balkhash – Republic of Kazakhstan, Karaganda district, city of Balkhash, 1 Bolnichny Gorodok Street, tel.: +7(71036) 4-37-63 (head doctor – Iskakov Rysbek Rakhimzhanovych), 4-00-68 (reception), fax: +7(71036) 4-20-91, e-mail: gpnd2008@mail.ru ;
  • Ministry of healthcare of the Republic of Kazakhstan - 010000, Astana city, Left bank, 8 Orynbor Street, House of Ministries, entrance 5, tel.: +7 (7172) 74-32-43, +7(7172) 74-32-40 (chancellery), fax: +7(7172) 74-36-50, e-mail: minzdrav@mz.gov.kz ;
  • Balkhash Prosecutor’s Office – Republic of Kazakhstan, Karaganda district, city of Balkhash, 37A Sabitovoy Street, tel.: +7(71036) 4-20-34 ;
  • Republic of Kazakhstan Prosecutor General Office – 010000, Republic of Kazakhstan, city of Astana, 14 Orynbor Street, tel.: +7 (7172) 71-26-50 ;
  • Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Kazakhstan - 010000, Republic of Kazakhstan, city of Astana, 1 Tauelsyzdyk Ave, tel.: +7 (7172) 71-40-12 (reception to Marat Demeuov, first Deputy Minister), e-mail: Kense@mvd.kz ;
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan – 010000, city of Astana, Left bank, 31 Kunayeva Street, tel.: +7 (7172) 72-05-18, +7 (7172) 72-05-16, e-mail: midrk@mfa.kz ;
  • Republic of Kazakhstan Parliament Senate – Republic of Kazakhstan, city of Astana, building of Republic of Kazakhstan Parliament Senate, tel.: +7 (7172) 74-72-37; +7 (7172) 74-72-53 (reception for citizens addresses), e-mail: Smimazh@parlam.kz ;
  • Mazhilis of the Republic of Kazakhstan Parliament – Republic of Kazakshtan, city of Astana, House of the Mazhilis of Parliament. tel.: +7 (7172) 74-67-79 (reception of Committee for legislature and judiciary-legal reform) e-mail: Smimazh@parlam.kz .

For more detailed information, you are welcome to contact:
Igor Savchenko - igor.savchenko@odfoundation.eu
Zhanar Kassymbekova - zhanar.kassymbekova@odfoundation.eu
Lyudmyla Kozlovska - lyudmylakozlovska@odfoundation.eu

More on this topic: Kazakhstan, Mukhortova, human rights

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