The asylum process in Finland — my asylum interview on October 11th 2017 is cut short as the interviewer suspects I may not be legally competent

Note — that this is a sub article — the context for which is provided in the main Index article:

Around 11am on October 11th I am around 90 minutes into my asylum interview. The interview has proceeded very well — I had prepared extensively for it and had detailed notes of my exact movements and my reasons for entering into the asylum process — these notes can be seen on medium:

However despite being lucid, logical and presenting all facts in an accurate manner around 90 minutes into the interview the young typist takes a call on her mobile phone. She leaves the interview room — the translator sat next to her is visibly shocked at this ‘strange event’. I surmise that in Finland during asylum interviews it is exceedingly rare for the state appointed typist to leave an interview mid session to take a mobile phone call. Upon her return she explains that she had an urgent personal call to attend to. The interview resumes and around 20 minutes later behind me I hear a knock on the door. I answer the door and there are two female ambulance staff (around 30 years of age) and two young male police officers (both around mid 20's).

The asylum interviewer proceeds to tell me that she believes I may not be legally competent and so had called an ambulance — she herself did not feel qualified to establish if I was indeed legally competent but she states that she had reasonable suspicion that I was in fact not legally competent. I’m somewhat shocked at this. And proceed to question the grounds on which she might have come to such a conclusion — I’d conducted myself with the utmost professionalism and demonstrated my above average skills in verbal reasoning and logical thought. She declines to go into details but states that given I’d been discharged from a psychiatric ward on October 4th and had also stated that I’d not taken any psychiatric medication since October 3rd that she felt I may not be legally competent.

I’d explained when questioned on this matter that I was coerced into accepting the prescription at the psychiatrists request. It was in no way helping me and was in fact only causing severe drowsiness and physical weakness.

There was no way short of being legally forced that I would ever be taking such a medication of my own free will ever.

The psychaitrist was however insistent on presribing the medication — eventually we reached the agreement that it was HIGHLY unlikely that I would EVER use the presecription but to placate his insistence that I would leave with a prescription — at that stage I was doing this merely as a courtesy so I would not insult his ability as a healthcare professional. It was obvious the psychiatrist was set on making the prescription and it seemed of little consequence to me to have a prescription written that I had no intention of ever using. I told him as much at the time of being given the prescription and also my reasons for not wanting it. Little did I realise that this ‘courtesy’ would later come back to bite me.

So back to the asylum interview.

The ambulance staff inform me that they too ‘are not qualified to evaluate my legal competence’ and that I will be required under Finnish law to attend a psychiatric evaluation under a qualified psychiatrist. We proceed to a nearby psychiatric hospital. I meet with a psychiatrist. I explain whats happened. He’s around 50 years of age and listens intently for around 30 minutes. He informs me at the end of the thirty minutes that he’s unable to come to a definitive conclusion and consequently would like to have me (with my permission) admitted to another longer stay psychiatric ward for evaluation.The psychiatrist advises me that he CANNOT DEEM me legally competent and so explains that its in my interests to take this opportunity to be properly psychiatrically evaluated and that with my permission he would like to admit to to a psychiatric ward.The psychiatrist advises me that he CANNOT DEEM me legally competent and so explains that its in my interests to take this opportunity to be properly psychiatrically evaluated and that with my permission he would like to admit to to a psychiatric ward.

He goes on to explain that should I decline this offer its highly likely that the EXACT same thing will happen again. And so its wise to establish my sanity henceforth and proceed from there with any asylum matters.

Seeing not many alternatives I agree to this and spend the next eight days from October 11th to October 19th on a ward in central Helsinki that is primarily used for such evaluations. I meet with the resident psychiatrist there on October 11th. She interviews me for around 45 minutes.

The next day (Thursday Ooctober 12th) another psychiatrist interviews me at around midday for 60 minutes. This same pyschiatrist also interviews again on Friday October 13th for 60 minutes again. On Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday I venture out from the psychiatric ward and take carry out some errands around Helsinki such as clothes and grocery shopping.

Also on Saturday October 14th I travel back to the asylum reception centre to inform them that I will have a 19kg parcel arriving on Monday 16th October via UPS from Budapest. I also request on October 14th to meet with a doctor so I can be discharged. I’d felt I’d given the authorities more than ample opportunity by this time to establish my legal competence. I’d met with three separate psychiatrists over the past 3 days. One of which had met with me on two consecutive days. In addition I’d been on a closely monitored ward with 24/7 nursing staff who had made observed my conduct and behaviour. I felt this was more than enough time.

The nursing staff inform me that to be discharged I will need to meet with the psychiatrist and that she was on holiday till Thursday 19th of October. Without too many options I decide that the best course of action is to use my time well and wait for Thursday so I can be discharged.

A question of competence

The following is an extract and summary of relevant points from assessing competence as found on:

http://www.ncids.org/civilcommitment/TrainingMaterials/2011Guardianship/AssessingCompetency.pdf

Legal competence is a ongoing matter — a persons competence is very much a present tense thing — you are either presenting yourself in a competent way inthe present moment or not.

The legal definition is the ‘mental capacity to decide in accordance with one’s goals, concerns and values’.

In addition competence is:

Competence is absolute but specific: Either a person is or is not competent to make a particular decision.

In assessing competence the four most frequently discussed elements include the ability to:

  • Understand (what is being discussed)
  • Appreciate (the significance of the information)
  • Reason (apply it to the current context)
  • Express a choice (indicate a preference)

What are the elements of competence? There are 4 ‘accepted’ standard elements:

  • Communication of choice
  • Understanding of information
  • Appreciation of one’s situation & risks/benefits of choices made
  • Rational decision decision-making

Courts prefer the first two, psychiatry the latter two.

How is competency determined?

Competence is not a pure, scientifically determinable state because it is colored by personal value judgments and social policy

Competency is contextual. Only a minimal competency is necessary (maximal capacity is irrelevant) for the task at hand; some things require a higher degree of competence than others. Competency is ‘fluid’ and thus must be assessed ‘at the moment’.

Am I competent?

I believe the for the following reasons that I am not only legally competent but in fact legally proficient!

  • I have presented all my evidence and arguments extremely clearly
  • I have been interviewed by around 6 separate psychiatrists since arriving into Finland.
  • I have undergone extensive blood work, psychiatric assessments, nursing assessments and also spoken with numerous police and officials.
  • Also during this time I have continued to manage my online businesses, communicate with friends, update twitter, facebook and medium.com

So I’m at loss to understand the alleged reasons that the interviewer would have for having reasonable grounds to suspect I was NOT legally competent. I’d given her MULTIPLE reasons for establishing a VERY high level of legal competence. I will be lodging a formal complaint to understand the reasons.

The financial cost of this un-neccessary evaluation is in the region of 700 euros a night. So around 6400 euro of Finnish Tax payer money was wasted (I’d very recently been on an evaluation ward between September 27th and October 4th — the resident psychiatrist there was happy to discharge me on October 2nd but at my request granted an extra two days so I could have time to prepare my asylum case). In addition due to poor planning my second evaluation was un-necessarily long because I was a assigned a doctor who went on holiday 2 days after meeting with me. This error would result in an additional 6 nights in hospital on the evaluation ward (P9 ward at Hyks Hospital) at a cost of approximately 700 euros a night. So again an extra 4900 euro of wasted tax payers money.

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