Anthony Milne, the man at the centre of an international storm concerning South Africa’s abusive psychiatric system, who made dramatic “escape” from a psychiatric hospital by utilising the MindFreedom “underground railroad”, is back in Valkenburg. According to a close friend, who remains anonymous, Milne was forceably admitted to the hospital by his parents about six weeks ago and is in a lock-up ward. Although capable of writing notes, and making a phone call, Anthony is a captive of the state. Mad Pride received a message alerting us to the situation and can verify the fact that Milne’s choochoo appears to have gone off the rails — instead of moving from safe house to safe house to a part of the world where there are less repressive laws, like the black slaves did to escape slavery in the American South, Milne was found living in a park, before his parents became aware of the problem.

Despite living in much the same way, as do many South Africans who are deprived of accommodation, Milne’s parents took the law into their own hands and made the decision to recommit their son, fearing for his safety. This is clearly a violation of his rights as a patient, since any normal hospital would not double as a prison cell. Furthermore, he would not be forced to take medication in a non-consensual way, if it were not for a coercive psychiatric system. A country which locks up patients and keeps them in an institution “for their own good”? Surely there are better ways to spend taxpayers money — what Milne needs is a loving home and not just state patronage, with Big Brother playing Nurse.

Cape Town Mad Pride is therefore appealing to the public to make such places of comfort and safety available. A sanctuary for those who are blessed with dangerous gifts, the kind of biological abnormality that gives the world poets and seers, visionaries and prophets? Since CT Mad Pride is under threat itself, from the forces that be, and has exhausted our legal avenues, we are appealing to our readers to please visit Anthony and to publicize his case.

NOTE: According to a local MindFreedom South Africa spokesperson, it is unlikely that Milne will get another day pass in order to make an escape any time soon. We therefore call for a better policy on releases from psychiatric hospitals and for there to be a more humane procedure on accommodation that does not violate the patients rights.

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