The wife of the Belarusian journalist Denysz Stadzi (Lavnikevycha) is asking the Ukrainian authorities to thoroughly investigate the attack that her husband suffered in April in Ukraine, where he has lived and worked since 2018.
The International Federation of Journalists, in a statement, strongly condemned the attack on Stadji and called on the Ukrainian authorities to investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to justice. The Committee to Protect Journalists came up with the same challenge at the end of the week.
Poisoned and abused for several days
Stadzi’s wife Viktoria Lavnikevychova, who is in contact with the committee via a messaging application, said she lost contact with Stadzi on April 9 when she was with her son in western Ukraine.
After returning to Kiev – April 12 – she found him unconscious in their apartment. The man was packed in garbage bags and had bruises and other signs of abuse on his body.
Photos published by Lavnikevychova on social networks show Stadzi with extensive bruises on the torso, arms and legs, as well as cuts on the ribs, back and buttocks.
Stadzi was then taken to hospital. According to doctors, the journalist was beaten for at least three to four days. Doctors estimate that it will take several months for recovery.
According to information published by the journalist’s partner on the Telegram platform, Stadži was poisoned by an unknown substance, but its composition could no longer be ascertained. It caused him severe damage to his nervous system and half of his lungs.
He was also forced to drink a mixture of alcohol and sedatives, and according to his wife, he was probably injected with a methadone-like substance.
Death threats and criticism of the invasion
Stadzi is a Belarusian economic journalist who has lived in Ukraine since 2018, where he has worked for several Ukrainian news sites.
Together with Lavnikevychova, they operate a telegram channel for Belarusians in Kiev and moderate several platoons focused on the Belarusian diaspora in Ukraine. Both have recently received critical reports of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Lavnikevychova told the Committee for the Protection of Journalists that she and her husband received anonymous death threats last summer via the Telegram platform and briefly stopped moderating these census groups. However, after the outbreak of war in Ukraine, these activities resumed. According to her, about 17,000 people follow them on the Telegram.
The International Federation of Journalists said in a statement that two activists in Belarus had recently been liquidated in exactly the same way.
In the autumn of 2020, some Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian media – such as Naše niva or Meduza.io – wrote that Lavnikevych had invented a network of false experts and referred to them in his texts for various media or wrote under various pseudonyms, allegedly ten years. The journalist denied the allegations, claiming that he was only protecting his resources. Some media have downloaded his articles from their websites.