Belarusian activist Steffan Latypov stabs himself during hearing in Minsk



According to the organization, Steffan Latypov, who faces allegations of organizing protests and resisting arrest, stabbed himself in the neck during the hearing over alleged threats by authorities against his family. he was not pleading guilty. He faces an additional charge of fraud which he also denies.

“Father, after meeting you, GUBOPiK [Belarusian Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption] came to see me and warned me that if I did not admit my guilt I would be thrown in a cell with hardened criminals and criminal proceedings would be launched against my relatives and neighbors, “Latypov said according to Viasna 96 before to cut himself.

The Belarusian Interior Ministry could not be reached by CNN for comment.

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya tweeted about Latypov’s case on Tuesday and called for an end to the country’s “state of terror”.

“He was threatened with persecution from his family if he did not confess guilt. It is the result of state terror, repression, torture in Belarus. We must stop it immediately!

Tikhanovskaya herself fled Belarus in August last year following the country’s disputed presidential elections. Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s longtime leader who has been described as “Europe’s last dictator”, claimed to have won over 80% of the vote.

"All Belarusians are hostages of the Lukashenko regime","  say citizens are now cut off from Europe
The election sparked a new wave of mass protests in Belarus, with thousands arrested. The US and EU declared the vote fraudulent and imposed sanctions on Belarusian officials for the fraud and the brutal crackdown that followed.

Latypov was arrested on September 15, 2020 after asking for ID from the police overseeing the painting of a political mural in a courtyard in Minsk, according to Viasna 96.

Viasna 96 also said Latypov underwent surgery on Tuesday after cutting himself and suffered no damage to vital organs.

Latypov is just one of many activists, journalists and protesters indicted in Belarus.
The arrests of dissident journalist Roman Protasevich and student Sofia Sapega sparked international outrage last week. The two men were arrested after their Ryanair flight from Athens to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius was intercepted and forced to land in Minsk as it flew over Belarus.
The shocking arrest of a fugitive journalist

Protasevich has been accused of “organizing mass riots and group actions that seriously violate public order” from outside the country via his Telegram channel.

Lukashenko announced at a government conference on Tuesday that he had told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Belarus would investigate Sapega, the state-run Belta news agency reported. Sapega is a Russian citizen.

Belta reported that the incident was discussed between Lukashenko and Putin during their recent meeting in Sochi.

“The investigation into the two people will continue in Belarus. It is inflexible. I have spoken to the President of Russia about it. I have assured him that there will be no problem with the access of the consuls. [to the arrestees]. I don’t think they take offense, we do more than give information, if they want to meet, they can go ahead. It is an international practice, ”Lukashenko said, according to Belta.

CNN’s Sharon Braithwaite contributed reporting.


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