Wednesday, June 23

Anti-Government Activist in Belarus Stabs Himself in Courtroom

MOSCOW — An opposition activist in Belarus stabbed himself in the throat with a pen during a court hearing on Tuesday after claiming that investigators had threatened to prosecute his family and neighbors if he did not plead guilty.

A video clip recorded just after the stabbing showed the activist, Stepan Latypov, lying on a bench inside a defendant’s cage with police officers trying to lift him. Onlookers could be heard screaming in the footage, taken inside the courtroom in the capital, Minsk, by Nasha Niva, a news website in Belarus.

Mr. Latypov, who was facing charges that included inciting social unrest, was later seen being carried out of the court building to an ambulance, his shirt marked with blood, in a video taken by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He was receiving treatment at a hospital and was in stable condition, according to a statement from the country’s Health Ministry.

The apparent suicide attempt comes amid increasingly repressive efforts by President Alexander G. Lukashenko, the brutal and erratic longtime leader of Belarus, to stifle all dissent in the country.

Mr. Latypov was one of the many opposition activists who emerged during the wave of enormous protests that swept through Belarus in the aftermath of the presidential election last August. Mr. Lukashenko claimed an overwhelming victory in that contest but the results were widely dismissed as fraudulent and were rejected by the European Union.

Angry with the official results, Mr. Latypov helped organize a makeshift protest mural in the courtyard of his apartment building in Minsk.

In September, police officers arrested Mr. Latypov as he tried to defend the mural against their attempts to destroy it. He was accused of resisting arrest, large-scale fraud and incitement of public unrest.

Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Call Now