An opposition activist to the president Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, he attempted to commit suicide in court by cutting his throat. According to the reconstructions of some present Stepan Latypov he would get up from the bench he was sitting on in the cell in the courtroom where the trial was taking place, took off his mask, pulled out a sharp object, possibly a pen, and stabbed himself in the throat. In the moments before the gesture he would have shouted that he had been warned that if he had not pleaded guilty to the charges against him, his family and loved ones would be persecuted in turn.
The man also complained that the authorities had put him in a detention cell for seven weeks. After the gesture, the guards were not immediately able to open the door of the cage, where he was locked up, as they did not have the keys. Latypov was then taken to hospital by ambulance. Some images taken by a mobile phone immortalize the moment after the gesture, when the man collapsed on the bench, and a woman is heard screaming. Other images taken by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty show the moment in which he was loaded into an ambulance, with his clothes stained with blood. The activist is currently receiving treatment in hospital and is reportedly in stable condition, according to a statement from the country’s health ministry.
Latypov is one of many opposition activists who emerged during the wave of massive protests that swept Belarus in the aftermath of last August’s presidential election when Lukashenko claimed a landslide victory in an election whose results were dismissed as fraudulent. by its opponents and also by the European Union. Latypov was arrested on 15 September at his home. He was indicted for fraud, in the context of his professional activities, and for coordinating a protest in Minsk on Telegram and for resisting agents at the time of arrest. Latypov is one of 454 arrested activists who are considered prisoners by the human rights NGO Viasna. More than 32,000 people were stopped by police during the protests, with hundreds of them claiming to have been tortured in detention.