Belarusian political prisoner Stepan Latipov slit his throat with a pen during his trial in Minsk on Tuesday after shouting that police threatened to harass his family and neighbors if he did not plead guilty. Videos of the incident and audios of his protest were posted on various Belarusian news channels.
There are reports that Latipov, 41, withdrew his pen from a stack of papers during a break in the trial. He bled for a few minutes until the police managed to open the cell in which the defendants are being held during the trials in Belarus. Taken to hospital, he was operated on Tuesday afternoon. There has been no official communication about the incident.
Owner of a company specializing in the treatment of trees, he is one of 454 political prisoners listed by a consortium of civil rights organizations in Belarus. He was arrested on September 15, 2020, while attempting to repaint a mural depicting “DJs of Change” – also imprisoned by the regime after playing the Russian song “Changes”, which has become one of the anthems. anti-dictatorship.
A month later, the regime declared that it “planned to spray pesticides from high buildings on shock troops”. and are associated with manifest disobedience to the legal requirements of the authorities. Latipov pleaded not guilty.
According to his family, he had been in solitary confinement since June 11 and the police had threatened to worsen the conditions of detention if he did not confess. On the Tut.by website in early May, Latipov’s father said that political prisoners were under great psychological pressure and that his son contracted Covid in prison.
“For a whole year in Belarus, not a single day has passed without the regime destroying the fate of an innocent person,” protested on the social network Svetlana Tikhanovskaia, an opposition leader in exile in Lithuania. According to her, there was a strong international reaction to the arrest of blogger Roman Protassevich, “but hundreds and thousands of people have been and continue to be tortured in Belarusian prisons”.
Protassevich was arrested on May 23 when the plane he was traveling in was diverted from its route to Minsk airport. The regime accuses him of terrorism and claims that he is funded by Western countries to destabilize the government at the stage of the biggest protests against dictator Alexander Lukashenko, following the rigged presidential election of August 2020.
A few days before the arrest, another political prisoner, Vitold Achurok, died in a penal colony. While on the diet, he had a heart attack, but the family say he had no heart problems. Also on Tuesday, Belarus banned Belarusians who do not have permanent residence in a foreign country from leaving the country. The dictatorship attributed this measure to the need to control the coronavirus pandemic.