Lizaveta: Brutal Warsaw rape and murder of woman fleeing Belarus sends shockwaves through Poland

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The case of a woman fleeing repression in her own country who was brutally raped and murdered has sent shockwaves across Poland.

Mourners across the Eastern European country paid tribute to the young Belarusian woman on Wednesday who died after the attack on the streets of Warsaw last month.

Local reports suggest some people witnessed the crime and did nothing. The brutal attack shocked many in the capital which rarely witnesses such violence. Police said Liza was found unconscious in the early hours of February 25 at a building entrance. She was taken to a hospital but died several days later, as a result of suffocation she endured during the attack.

The Polish capital has become a hub for Belarusians fleeing oppression and Ukrainians fleeing war.

Activists from the three countries organised the event where people gathered at the crime scene in downtown Warsaw, placing flowers and lighting candles in honor of the woman known only as Lizaveta, or Liza.

People march in silence to commemorate Lizaveta

(Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

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.”

People march in silence to commemorate Lizaveta

(Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

People were outraged at reports that some witnessed the crime but did not react. “Don’t be indifferent,” read one sign.

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.

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.

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