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Father held in psychiatric unit for protesting against wi-fi in his children’s school

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A father in Northern Ireland is being held against his wishes in a psychiatric hospital and forcibly given antipsychotics-while held down by hospital staff-because he has protested against wi-fi in his children’s school.

Stephen Clarke has been held at a psychiatric unit in Belfast for around 14 weeks since he mounted his protest against the use of wi-fi networks at his children’s school.
He was held under the Northern Ireland Mental Health Order 1986 after he protested against wi-fi in school by climbing a statue in Belfast and waving a white flag. He is in the middle of a custody battle with his ex-wife over the children.

At the hearing, the judge issued an application for assessment-which has involved him being incarcerated in the Mater Hospital in Belfast-because, in his view, Stephen was “suffering from mental disorder of a nature or degree which warrants his detention in a hospital for assessment.”

He is being medicated with the antipsychotic Abilify (aripiprazole)-also prescribed for schizophrenia and depression-and, during his time at Mater, his dose has been doubled. Doctors are considering a tripling of the dose. On several occasions, he has been held down by five members of staff and forced to take the medication.
Stephen is resisting medication because he is perfectly sane and well, and wishes to keep a clear head for the custody hearings. However, hospital staff has refused to allow him to attend unless he takes the medication.

Ironically, Stephen would be considered perfectly sane in other EU countries, such as France, which have banned the use of wi-fi in schools because of their potential danger to the development of small children.

A twitter campaign #FreeStephenClarke is being proposed, and people are urged to write to Home Secretary Theresa May, Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF, and to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, Temple Court, 39 North Street, Belfast BT1 1NA. The Mater Hospital address is 45-54 Crumlin Road, Belfast BT14 6AB.

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