A Ukrainian political refugee living in France has been attacked by a masked assailant who questioned him about his human rights activities and stole the hard disc from his computer, Amnesty International said Friday.
Andrei Fedosov, who has campaigned on behalf of anti-government protesters demonstrating in Ukraine, said the assailant bound his hands and feet with tape before stabbing him in the stomach and the leg with a knife and a razor.
The attack, by an unknown Russian native speaker, took place at Fedosov’s home in Strasbourg in eastern France on Monday night.
Although there have been several reported attacks on protesters in Ukraine, this is believed to be the first time an assault has taken place on an activist in a foreign country, said Amnesty.
“This is an extremely worrying development,” said the campaign group’s Ukraine expert Heather McGill.
“During the anti-government protests activists have been abducted and tortured by unknown assailants in Ukraine, and at least four protestors have died. This is the first time that someone has been targeted across international borders.”
French authorities urged to act
According to Amnesty, Fedosov received an anonymous threatening note in the days preceding the attack while bullets were left on his doorstep.
Although he reported the threats to the police in Strasbourg, they did not offer him any protection.
Amnesty urged French authorities to do everything in their power to ensure Fedosov’s future safety.
“The French authorities must ensure that whoever carried out this attack is identified and brought to justice,” added McGill.
Fedosov was granted political asylum in France in 2011 after being attacked and tortured in Ukriane, where he had been the chair of the mental disability rights organisation, Uzer.
The group exposed cases of corruption and human rights abuse in psychiatric hospitals in the country.
Ukraine has been gripped by often violent protests since President Viktor Yanukovich abandoned plans to sign a trade deal with the EU in favour of closer ties with Russia in November.
On Friday, Ukrainian authorities freed the last of 243 protesters detained during the unrest as part of an amnesty agreement aimed at diffusing some of the tension.
However, charges will not be dropped unless protesters vacate occupied government buildings and remove barricades in the centre of Kiev, the scene of some of the fiercest confrontations between demonstrators and police.
Date created : 2014-02-15