Belarus orders mental healthcare professionals to snitch on ‘pro-Ukrainian’ patients


Minsk: Therapists and psychiatrists in Russia’s ally country Belarus have been reportedly told to snitch on patients who are opposed to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

A group of exiled Belarusian volunteer healthcare workers called ‘White Robes’ said that they have received reports of the arrests of dozens of psychologists and psychiatrists across the country.

According to Telegraph, at least 20 mental health care professionals have been detained mostly in the capital city of Minsk.

A spokesperson of the group said, “Some of them have been released after questioning, some of them not.”

The detained psychologists and therapists were questioned about their political views and were forced to give information about pro-Ukrainian clients by breaching client-doctor confidentiality.

An unnamed woman said that her relative, a psychologist, was detained at her home by Belarusian KGB officers and that she went incommunicado until she surfaced this week.

Belarusian crackdown

Belarus has intensified its crackdown on people supporting Ukraine ever since Russia launched an invasion of the country.

Viasna, one of the country’s oldest rights groups, said dissidents have been arrested in mass in Minsk as well as other parts of the country.

Pavel Sapelka, the group’s spokesperson, told The Associated Press that security forces in the country are “sweeping raids and searches” on people who are suspected of a recent attack on a Russian warplane stationed near the Belarusian capital.

“Every act of resisting Lukashenko’s regime triggers a new wave of harsh repression in Belarus,” said Sapelka.

Pavel added, “Detentions, raids, torture behind bars continue in Belarus, political prisoners face pressure, and independent media content is being labelled an extremist.”

Russia-Belarus relationship

Before gaining independence in 1991, Belarus was a part of the then-Soviet Union before it collapsed.

Belarus and Russia have continued to maintain strong economic and political relations ever since.

The country serves as an important strategic location for Russia sharing nearly 700 miles of border with Ukraine. Also, Ukraine’s capital Kyiv is closer to Belarus than it is to Russia.

It was from this shared border that Russian forces invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

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Belarus orders mental healthcare professionals to snitch on ‘pro-Ukrainian’ patients
Belarus orders mental healthcare professionals to snitch on ‘pro-Ukrainian’ patients
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