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Belarus Activist Hospitalized After Stabbing Himself in Court

Stsiapan Latypau reportedly was told his family would be prosecuted unless he confessed
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2021 4:02 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Belarus activist has been hospitalized after stabbing himself in the neck with a pen during a court hearing in Minsk, a rights group said. Stsiapan Latypau underwent surgery and is in satisfactory condition, the BBC reports. He's charged with being behind opposition social media, which he denies. The rights group, Viasna, said Latypau harmed himself after his father testified Tuesday in the hearing. He reportedly was heard telling his father that officials had threated to hurt him physically if he did not confess, and that his relatives and neighbors would be prosecuted as well. "This is the result of state terror, repressions, torture in Belarus," an opposition leader later tweeted. "We must stop it immediately!"

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Viasna said the stabbing was a protest. It took time for the guards to open the defendant's cage, and Latypau was unconscious when he was taken away, the group said, per Euronews. Viasna tweeted that Latypau, 41, suffered no damage to his vital organs. He had bruises when he arrived in court, the group said, and an opposition leader's aide said he'd been tortured while in custody. President Alexander Lukashenko has repressed protests and opposition since his reelection last August, a disputed outcome. His regime forced a passenger plane to land in Minsk last month so a journalist could be taken into custody. (Read more Belarus stories.)

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