Le procès de Pavel C.

STRASBOURG – C’est par une froide journée d’hiver de 2004 qu’un jeune Russe dénommé Pavel Chtoukatourov a un jour découvert qu’un juge lui avait retiré le droit de parler en son propre nom. Privé de capacité légale, il lui était devenu impossible d’agir de manière indépendante dans la plupart des situations courantes de la vie. Il ne pouvait plus travailler, voyager, choisir son lieu de résidence, acheter ou vendre quelque chose, ni même se marier.   

Le juge lui avait retiré tous ces droits sans même l’en informer – pour tout dire, Pavel ne découvrit l’affaire qu’un an plus tard. Alors qu’il cherchait un avocat pour défendre ses droits, sa mère, devenue son tuteur légal, le fit enfermer dans un hôpital psychiatrique pour une durée de sept mois. Cette situation kafkaïenne fut possible parce que Pavel souffrait de troubles mentaux et qu’il vivait dans un système refusant de protéger ses droits.

En Russie, près de 125 000 personnes souffrant d’un handicap mental sont confinées – à vie – dans des institutions. Il faut ajouter à cela quelque 165 000 lits en hôpitaux psychiatriques, avec près de 650 000 hospitalisations par an. Toutefois, ces statistiques ne disent rien de la réalité de la situation. Ce n’est que rarement que des histoires comme celle de Pavel Chtoukatourov paraissent au grand jour. Il est étonnant de voir à quel point on sait peu de choses sur la manière dont sont traitées les personnes souffrant de problèmes mentaux en Russie.

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