Belarus activist threatened and beaten by police for trying to register gay group

Amnesty International Australia has called on authorities in Belarus to properly investigate the beating of gay activist Ihar Tsikhanyuk by police in response to his trying to register an LGBTI rights group with the government

Amnesty International Australia is campaigning for an investigation into a Belarusian gay activist being beaten and threatened by police after he sought to register an LGBTI rights group with Belarusian authorities.

Earlier this year Ihar Tsikhanyuk sought to register a group under the name ‘Lamda’ but says the response from the authorities was to have him dragged from a hospital bed and interrogated.

Tsikhanyuk was being treated for a stomach ulcer and says he was brutally beaten by police after being harassed and threatened over trying to register the group.

Tsikhanyuk said he registered a complaint against the officers but that only resulted in more threats from the police.

‘I wrote a complaint,’ Tsikhanyuk said. ‘But when I told the police officers they said, “Boy, aren’t you worried that you’ll end up with nine grams [a bullet] in your forehead?”’

‘After the attack, my family became scared of being attacked. I still feel humiliated and empty, because there’s nothing I can do. We don’t have enough ways to fight, or good enough legislation to protect LGBTI people in Belarus.’

Amnesty International Australia have called on people to contact the government of Belarus to demand a proper investigation of police conduct towards Tsikhanyuk.

‘To be treated like this by police, simply for being who you are, is outrageous an unacceptable,’ Amnesty International Australia Individuals at Risk coordinator Rose Kulak said.

‘Let the authorities of Belarus know that the eyes of the world are on them now.’

Tsikhanyuk said he hoped that the support of Amnesty International supporters would improve the treatment of LGBTI rights activists in Belarus.

‘It will mean a lot for us to get support from Amnesty,’ Tsikhanyuk said.

‘LGBTI people will feel braver and more hopeful. It will show that everyone is equal in the Republic of Belarus.’

In March of last year Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said ‘better a dictator than gay’ in responding to critics of his regime – which has been called the last Stalinist dictatorship in Europe.

by Andrew Potts
Source – Gay Star News