Rehabilitation to be provided to victims of Soviet-era psychiatric abuse

(26.06.2013.)

In order to right the historic wrongs and to restore the honour and dignity of people committed to psychiatric facilities during the Soviet occupation without a court ruling and without legitimate medical grounds, on Thursday, 20 June, the Saeima adopted the Law on Persons Committed to Psychiatric Institutions of the USSR and Latvia without Legitimate Medical Grounds from 17 June 1940 to 21 August 1991.

The application for restoring a person’s status can be submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office by the relevant person – a citizen, non-citizen or permanent resident of Latvia – or by the person’s guardian. The application can also be submitted by the deceased person’s surviving spouse or relative.

In order to take a positive or negative decision on restoring a person’s status, the prosecutor will request a written reasoned opinion of a commission of psychiatric experts and, if necessary, a reasoned opinion of other experts, including psychiatrists.

The commission of psychiatric experts will draft a reasoned opinion on the basis of medical records provided by the prosecutor.

The Prosecutor’s Office will examine the application for restoring one’s status, and the relevant decision will have to be taken within six months from the day when the application was submitted.

The decision on restoring a person’s status taken by the prosecutor will have to state how long the person was committed to a psychiatric facility and for what reason.

The Law also sets forth the procedure for challenging the decision made by the prosecutor’s office.  The reasoned opinion is then examined by the Prosecutor General and, if not satisfied, the person will be able to appeal against the Prosecutor General’s decision to a court according to the procedure set forth by the Administrative Procedure Law.

The Law will come into force on 1 August 2013.



Saeima Press Service

Sestdien, 31.oktobrī