Political prisoner Uladzimir Kondrus attempts to cut wrists in courtroom, trial postponed till mid-December
On November 16, the Court of Maskoŭski district of Minsk opened a hearing of criminal charges brought against Uladzimir Kondrus for his alleged involvement in riots outside the Government House in December 2010.
However, the court session was soon interrupted after the defendant lay on the floor of an iron cage where he was expected to be held throughout the trial.
“Kondrus refuses to participate in the trial as a mark of protest. And he will probably refuse to testify, which he has a right to do. But I think he will refuse from any communication at all,” human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich said after the incident.
Kondrus was examined by a doctor and returned to the cage. After that he tried to cut his wrists. This happened when the judge was considering the possibility of resuming the trial in the absence of the accused, as Kondrus had refused to stand up and communicate with the court.
The defendant was then taken out of the courtroom and examined by a doctor again. Representatives of the police claimed that his life was out of danger.
After the trial was resumed, the judge ruled to remove Kondrus from the courtroom for violating court order.
The court ordered to send the defendant for a psychological and psychiatric examination, as the judge had doubts about the mental state of the accused because of his suicide attempt in the courtroom.
According to lawyer Vadzim Mushynski who defended Uladzimir Kondrus in court, the trial will not be resumed before mid-December.
Uladzimir Kondrus was taken into custody on June 14. He was soon charged under Art. 293 of the Criminal Code (“rioting”), the charge that was used to convict 49 persons for involvement in post-election protests in Minsk on 19 December, 2010.
The human rights community of Belarus recognized Uladzimir Kondrus a political prisoner, urging the authorities to drop the criminal charges against him and to immediately release the prisoner from custody.