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Belarusian Physician Forced Into Psychiatric Clinic Starts Hunger Strike

Belarusian doctor Ihar Pasnou
Belarusian doctor Ihar Pasnou
VITSEBSK, Belarus -- A Belarusian physician critical of local officials has reportedly gone on hunger strike after being forced into a psychiatric hospital in the eastern city of Vitsebsk.

A Vitsebsk court ruled on August 21 that Ihar Pasnou should be held in the clinic for treatment.

Pasnou, 48, was forcibly hospitalized last week after he posted video statements on YouTube criticizing local officials for poor health care in the city.

He insists he is healthy and his forced treatment is a form of retaliation by authorities.

Local activist Syarhey Ryzhou told RFE/RL on August 22 that Pasnou started the hunger strike to protest the possibility that he will be treated with mind-altering drugs.

The court's ruling allows for such treatments.

The clinic's deputy chief physician, Ihar Svirkunou, refused to comment to RFE/RL regarding reports about Pasnou's hunger strike.
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