Independent economic analyst Siarhei Chaly was attacked by unknown people in the centre of Minsk on the night of May 19 when he left the Kuriza Pomada café (Vulica Lenina 8). Chaly was not alone; one of his friends was also beaten. The other friend managed to walk away and could see what was happening. There were five attackers, he said.
Siarhei Chaly is one of the most inconvenient persons in Belarusian media sphere. His video show Economy on finger tips is very popular on Belarus' leading internet portal TUT.by. Chaly is known for his critical analysis when it comes to the actions of Belarusian government officials and those who exercise influence on them. Chaly was taken to hospital after the beating – his face was swollen, his nose broken and a cerebral injury was diagnosed. He will need about a month to recover, the doctors said.
Friends and colleagues do not rule out he night have been attacked because of his journalistic work.
Euroradio talked to the young man who was near Siarhei Caly at the moment of the attack. He got a light cerebral injury and does not need to be admittted in hospital.
— It happened all of a sudden, they came from the back. We did not expect it. Siarhei only managed to shout: ‘Why?’ But they did not reply – they remained speechless while beating us. I do not think that they had planned to beat me. Siarhei must have been their target. They were acting professionally – we did not even notice where they had come from. One second – and I was lying face down and they were hitting me in the face.
Euroradio: Could the beating be the continuation of something that had happened at the café?
— It couldn’t. There were hardly any people at Kuriza Pomada and nothing had happened in the bar of the supermarket “Centralny” (the friends left it at 11 p.m.). I could see the face of the man who was beating me – he had light hair and a light-coloured jacket. I had not seen him in the café.
Euroradio: Why did they beat you then?
— They could do it just for fun. But I can hardly believe it. They did not steal our phones so there were not robbers. They beat us on the faces and ran away.
Euroradio: What happened after the beating?
— They attacked us at about 12.30 a.m. I made a phone call at 12.11 a.m. before the beating. Then I phoned to complain about the attack – it was at 12.49 a.m. Our friend called the police and they arrived 15 or 20 minutes later. They drove us around the city in hope that we could notice the attackers in the streets. Then they took us to the station where we filed a beating report. They called an ambulance at about 6 a.m.
According to Yandex. Panoramas, there were at least two CCTV cameras near Kuriza Pomada: one of them was on the building next door and the other one – on GUM. We are hoping that the cameras will help the police find the attackers and we will soon learn who assaulted Siarhei Chaly and his friend.