Belarus filmmaker hospitalised after brutal anti-gay attack
Belorussian filmmaker Nikolai Kuprich has been hospitalised after a violent anti-gay attack.
The documentary-maker, whose film Pussy Boys explores the experience of LGBT+ people in Belarus, was assaulted along with two men in Minsk on August 25, according to Human Rights Watch.
Filmmaker suffers from memory loss after violent attack
Andrei Zavalei of LGBT+ campaign group Delo Pi said that the unidentified man had approached the group, who were walking through Minsk, to ask if they were “faggots.”
Zavalei told HRW: “The young man took a step back and karate kicked [Kuprich] right in the face. [Kuprich] collapsed onto the ground.”
Kuprich was hospitalised for several days with severe head injuries and a broken nose, and experienced memory loss following the attack.
Footage of the attack was captured by a nearby gas station security camera.
According to Human Rights Watch police are treating the incident as hooliganism, while Kuprich is seeking to have the hate-motivated nature of the attack recognised.
Homophobic attacks rarely make it to the courts in Belarus
It is legal to be gay in Belarus, which is Europe’s only official dictatorship, though LGBT+ people frequently face harassment and homosexuality remains highly taboo.
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Zavalei said: “Instances of homophobic and transphobic violence in Belarus rarely reach the media and the courts.
“Victims often do not make their stories public and do not file complaints with the police, because of a high risk of re-traumatization and ill-conditioned response even by law enforcement agencies.”
Kyle Knight, senior LGBT rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “The police in Minsk should ensure that their investigation into the attack on the filmmaker Nikolai Kuprich is speedy and impartial.
“The authorities should ensure justice for this attack and reassure LGBT people in Belarus that homophobic violence will not be tolerated.”
He added: “The authorities should recognise the hatred motive in the attack.
“Recognising the hate motive, along with an effective, impartial investigation, without delay would be an important signal to the victim and the country’s LGBT community.”