Hrodna taxi driver beaten by riot police faces jail

Alyaksei Lapa in court. Photo: Belsat

On February 22, a Hrodna court continued the hearing of the case involving a local taxi driver Alyaksei Lapa. The man is being accused of violence against security forces abd could be jailed for three years, reports the human rights center “Viasna”.

The trial began on November 5. Alyaksei Lapa was detained on August 11. The cab driver and his friends drove to the hypermarket for water. There were riot policemen in the parking lot, who started beating the man’s car. Alyaksei drove away, but quickly the car was stopped. The driver and his passengers were beaten. Alyaksei’s injury list includes a fracture of the jaw, maxillary sinuses, zygomatic bone, nose and numerous bruises.

The court refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the policemen. But the driver became a defendant under article 364 (“Violence or threat of violence against an official”). The victims are the riot policemen Artsiom Lohish and Pavel Konan. The latter was the only injured: he had bruises on his elbow and knee and a scratch on his forehead, which caused a short-term disability.

Prosecutor Smolsky believes that Lapa’s guilt has been proven. It is allegedly confirmed by the testimonies of the victims and police witnesses. The cab driver allegedly wanted to interfere with the actions of the riot policemen. The state prosecutor requested three years of imprisonment for the man and 164 rubles paid in procedural costs.