A young ethnic Armenian is being treated for multiple stab wounds after surviving a suspected racially motivated attack by a neo-Nazi group in Poland.
The incident took place in eastern Poland’s largest city of Bialystok on Sunday, with the local media identifying the victim as a 21-year-old Armenian by the first name of Ogsen, who is, presumably, a local resident.
Bialystok’s newspapers, Kurier Poranny, quoted eyewitnesses as saying that two dozen masked nationalists broke into a local nightclub and went specifically for the Armenian, who is said to have been brutally beaten before being repeatedly stabbed and left bleeding.
“They were very confident in their actions, and the impression was that they had come for a particular person, perhaps they were taking revenge on him,” the club’s manager said, according to the paper.
Local media say it is the second attack targeting the young Armenian. Last April a group of knife-wielding youngsters assaulted Ogsen and his friends in broad daylight, reportedly hurling racist insults and making other offensive remarks against the Armenian and his companions. A braw ensued and Ogsen and his friend managed to repulse the attackers, inflicting serious injuries on one of them. After the investigation that lasted for months the court found Ogsen guilty and sentenced him to two years in prison. “Apparently, that punishment did not seem severe enough for the skinheads and they decided to wage a vendetta against him,” writes one of the Polish bloggers.
The local police stop short of calling it a crime committed on ethnic grounds. According to official sources, the investigation into the attack is ongoing and two suspects have already been arrested. “We cannot say anything yet, the police are investigating the case and we hope that much will become clear in the coming days,” the Kurier Poranny newspaper quoted Bialystok’s public prosecutor Marek Winnicki as saying.
“One thing is clear: problems with neo-Nazism are not new to our country,” a Gazeta Bialystok commentator wrote on Tuesday, adding that the weekend incident revealed just how vulnerable the Polish system of justice was. “Even though Ogsen suffered an attack a year ago, his attackers have not been brought to justice until today, because the prosecution did not provide grounds for bringing a case against them. The Sunday incident perhaps would not have happened, had the law-enforcement taken the opposite course of action and investigated the case of the attackers first,” the Polish analyst suggested.
The Armenian embassy in Poland says it continues to follow the developments in the case and has already sent an official inquiry to Bialystok’s prosecutors and police officials. According to the information possessed by Armenian diplomats in Warsaw, the current condition of the attacked Armenian is satisfactory, he remains in hospital and is under constant medical supervision.