Vitsebsk: armed assault on Taras Surhan
On 4 November the head of the Vitebsk branch of "Young
Belarus" Taras Surhan was beaten and slashed with a knife. The incident
took place as Taras returned home from work.
The unidentified young men suddenly approached Taras,
asked him for a cigarette and began to beat him. They also slashed him with a
knife and then ran away.
"I immediately went to the emergency hospital, where I received medical treatment. However, in some time there came police officers and took me to the Transport Police Department, where I was interrogated until 7 a.m. standing, although I was prescribed bed rest, and the doctors have forbidden me to stay in an upright position. Despite my declaration that I can not answer the questions the investigator continued to interrogate me, and the head of criminal investigation Kutuzau mockingly asked me to lie on the floor if I felt unwell," – said Taras Surgan.
During the entire interrogation Surhan’s wife kept calling to the police, demanding to let her husband go home and question him at home. He was released only after the end of the interrogation. During his stay at the police his apartment was searched by the police, who took away the clothes he was wearing during the incident. On 8 November police officer I. Sharychkou came to Taras’s home and wanted to take him to the police department, for an “informal talk”, but went away after the activist phoned to the local human rights defenders.
Taras Surhan thinks the assault is a part of the increasing pressurization of activists of the Vitsebsk branch of “Young Belarus” by the police and security services. Bear in mind that two activists have been dismissed from work recently. Many activists have been subject to repeated arrests and detentions.