Sunday, June 20

Belarusian activist returns to prison without having recovered from his suicide attempt


Correspondent in Moscow

Updated:

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Belarusian opposition activist, Stepán Latípov, 41, who last Tuesday injured himself in the neck with a pen in the same courtroom that tried him, has been sent back to prison without having had time to recover from the injury. Independent doctors cited by opposition sources believe that Latípov I should have stayed longer in the hospitalBut the brutality of the prison system of dictator Alexander Lukashenko is relentless with those who dare to question his power.

Information about the shipment back to Latípov prison was broadcast on Wednesday by the Belarusian television channel STV. The official medical report says that, although he was admitted for less than a day, “the patient has been discharged from the hospital, since your life is not in danger». They also clarified that the trial against him could be resumed as early as June 10.

Latípov is involved in several criminal cases related to his participation in protest actions against Lukashenko last year, which erupted after verifying that the presidential elections of August 9, 2020 were manipulated and the victory was actually obtained Svetlana Tijanóvskaya, head of the opposition and currently exiled in Lithuania.

The hearing of the trial against the Belarusian activist took place in Minsk on Tuesday when he, inside the cage of the accused, climbed on a bench and stuck a pen in the neck causing a profuse hemorrhage. He had to be evacuated immediately and admitted to the hospital. Earlier, Latípov had denounced that investigators from the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime of the Belarusian Ministry of the Interior (GUBOPIK) threatened him during interrogations that, if he did not admit his guilt, criminal cases would also be opened against his family members. .

The opposition organized a group of people around him to participate in the protests. For this, he created a chat on the social network Telegram and coordinated the distribution of propaganda. This group of activists was especially active during August and September 2020.

Act of despair

According to the Russian agency Interfax, in the summary of one of the criminal cases opened against him, it is stated that on September 15 of last year “he resisted the police in a violent way.” It was then that his arrest occurred. He is also accused of subverting public order, of “disobedience to the legitimate demands of government officials” and, the latest accusation has been for “fraud” committed, apparently, within the framework of his small industrial mountaineering services company. The authorities deny that he is licensed to carry out such work. He is also suspected of having prepared “chemicals” to be used against riot control forces.

The opponent and former candidate, Andrei Sánnikov, exiled in Poland, believes that Latipov injured himself in an “act of desperation.” In his opinion, «it has been a long time since suffers beatings and torture (…) one more proof of the deadly nature of the Lukashenko regime. ‘

The Belarusian despot has forced most of the opposition leaders into exile and those who remained inside the country are in jail. The NGO Viasna calculates in about 450 the number of political prisoners currently in the country. The repression has caused deaths and hundreds of injuries. But Lukashenko proclaims that the entire protest movement is instigated from the West with the aim of overthrowing him.

His latest misdeed was to hijack a plane belonging to the Irish company Ryanair, on May 23, which he forced to land in Minsk due to a false bomb alarm on board. The deception served to arrest the well-known blogger, Román Protasévich, and his Russian girlfriend, Sofía Sapega, both currently in preventive prison. The two were flying on the Ryanair plane between Athens and Vilna through Belarusian airspace and what they could least imagine is that Lukashenko would invent a bomb threat and use a fighter plane to force the plane to land in Minsk.

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