Thursday, November 08, 2007

Polish police institute criminal proceedings in connection with knife attack on Belarusian journalist

The Polish police have instituted criminal proceedings in connection with a knife attack on a Belarusian journalist linked to a child custody dispute with her ex-husband.

Volha Klaskowskaya, who was granted political asylum in Poland two years ago, suffered at least 10 stab wounds after being assaulted by an unidentified man in a Warsaw park on the night between November 7 and 8.

“One man attacked me. I had not met him before,” Ms. Klaskowskaya said in an interview with BelaPAN.

The woman said that she had suffered wounds to the left part of her body, mostly the chest and the left shoulder.

“The police have started investigating the case at once. As a policeman told me, this is the number one case at present,” she said.

According to Ms. Klaskowskaya, the assailant resembled the man who accompanied her ex-spouse to a court hearing held in Warsaw on November 6, at which the Belarusian justice ministry’s request for the return of the divorced couple’s daughter, Miraslava, to Belarus was considered.

The Belarusian ministry accuses Ms. Klaskowskaya of illegally bringing the daughter out of the country and keeping her in Poland.

“After I had already emigrated and obtained the status of refugee, a Belarusian court, aware of all circumstances, terminated my parental rights,” she said. “Apart from this, a Belarusian prosecutor’s office declared me, my mother and daughter missing and demanded that the Poles should provide information about my whereabouts, my address and phone number to Belarus.”
The woman’s former husband, Vital Naumovich, who arrived in Poland to attend the hearing was detained and questioned shortly after. He was released on the same day.

Ms. Klaskowskaya said that the man had been interviewed as a suspect in a case opened in connection with her complaint. In particular, he is accused of threatening violence against the ex-wife and attempting to take the six-year-old Miraslava to Belarus. “A prosecutor brought a charge against him. But no one knows now where my former husband is,” she noted.

The woman said that the daughter knew about the attack. “Of course, she has been frightened by all these events. But I’m happy with her mood and behavior. She even cheers me.”

Ms. Klaskowskaya said that she and Miraslava remained under police protection on Thursday. “I’m staying at home. And if we go somewhere, police escort us. They are indignant and, given all previous threats, are very much concerned,” she stressed.