A man on trial was filmed slitting his own throat in horrific scenes that played out in court.
In the video, filmed in a courtroom in Minsk, Belarus, the man, an opposition activist named Stepan Latypov, is seen behind a caged dock as he stands trial for organising opposition to the Belarusian dictator, Alexander Lukashenko.
In the middle of the court proceedings, Latypov is seen rising from the dock, picking up a sharp object – believed to be a pen – and plunging it into his throat.
In the moments before he made an attempt on his life, 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.
When he started stabbing himself, officers ran to him in an effort to save his life. As he was in a caged dock, 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 judge ordered the courtroom to be emptied as chaos broke out.
The Independent reports the activist is believed to have been put in an induced coma at Minsk’s Semashko hospital as doctors battle 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.
By Jide N.