Advertisement

Mourners honor woman who was raped and killed in Poland's capital after fleeing Belarus

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Mourners in Poland paid tribute Wednesday evening to a young Belarusian woman who died after being attacked and raped on the streets of Warsaw last month, a crime that has shocked the country.

In recent years, the Polish capital has become a hub for Belarusians fleeing repression and Ukrainians fleeing war. Activists from the three countries organized the event where people gathered at the crime scene in downtown Warsaw, placing flowers and lighting candles in honor of the woman who has been identified only as Lizaveta, or Liza.

Participants let out a collective scream and then walked in silence. Some voiced outrage at sexual violence against women and sadness that a young refugee woman who sought safety in Poland was killed so violently.

“She came here to Poland for a better life and in Poland, her life was taken away,” Maja Stasko, an artist and feminist activist, told the mourners. “She was completely alone in this place. We are here for her right now.”

Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who lives in exile in Lithuania, had called on people to join the tribute to Lizaveta, writing on her website: “We cannot bring Liza back to life. But we can be her voice, the voice of all women who have experienced violence. Because silence is not an option here.”

Another opposition figure in exile, Pavel Latushka, participated in the memorial march.

The attack shocked many in the capital which rarely witnesses such violence. Police said Liza was found unconscious in the early hours of Feb. 25 at a building entrance. She was taken to a hospital but died of her injuries several days later.

A 23-year-old Polish man, identified only as Dorian S., is suspected of the crime. He has been arrested and charged with robbery, sexual assault and attempted murder.