Man slits throat in court in horror scenes after claiming family at risk

A man on trial for spurious reasons has been filmed slitting his own throat in horrific scenes.

In the video, filmed in a courtroom in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, the man is seen rising from the dock, picking up a sharp object – believed to be a pen – and plunging it into his throat.

The man, opposition activist Stepan Latypov, was on trial for organising opposition to the Belarusian dictator, Alexander Lukashenko.

In the moments before the sickening scenes, Mr Latypov had shouted to his father in the courtroom, saying he had been warned that his family and neighbours would be persecuted if he didn't plead guilty.

He also claimed authorities had placed him in a punishment cell for the past seven weeks.

In the video, Latypov is in a caged dock, which slowed down the efforts to save his life.

The judge ordered the courtroom to be emptied as chaos broke out.

Prison officers seemed to be unable to get access to the cage, and while they went off looking for keys, Mr Latypov continued to hurt himself, losing consciousness in the process.

The Independent reports the activist is believed to have been put in an induced coma at Minsk's Semashko hospital as doctors work to save his life.

Mr Latypov was arrested back in September while trying to protect a pro-opposition mural in the city.

Authorities in the communist dictatorship later claimed they had found evidence he was trying to poison police officers.

Latypov, a tree surgeon, often trades poisonous chemicals as part of his work.

President Lukashenko, who has ruled the ex-Soviet state for 27 years, has faced increased opposition in the past year and has responded with state violence.

The official backlash to protests has already claimed a number of lives.

Last week, 17-year-old Dmitry Stakhovsky committed suicide while under pressure from prosecutors.

In May, a Belarusian journalist was dragged from a Ryanair flight after the plane was forced. to make an emergency landing over a supposed bomb threat.

Days later, Roman Protasevich's girlfriend Sofia Sapega was also arrested after a video was leaked showing her boyfriend's "confession".

Protasevich may face execution if found guilty of his crimes.

Meanwhile, Belarusian citizen Alexandra Stabredova has denied she is a spy following reports she and several Russian citizens quietly disembarked the plane at Minsk along with Protasevich.

Lukashenko is a close ally of Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

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