Missing Belarusian activist found hanged in Kiev park


Belarus update

According to reports, a Belarusian opposition activist was found hanged in a tree in a park near his Ukrainian home. The local police said that his death may look like suicide.

Vitaly Shyshov leads the Kiev-based organization Belarusian House, which helps Belarusians fleeing persecution to gain a foothold in Ukraine. On Monday, his partner reported that he had disappeared after escaping.

A few weeks after Belarusian authorities’ pressure on civil society activists and independent media increased, Shisov’s death was what the country’s authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko called “to crack down on robbers and foreign agents”. Part of the mopping up operation.

Many Belarusians have fled the country since Lukashenko began a brutal crackdown following the controversial victory in the presidential election last summer. Approximately 35,000 people have been arrested in Belarus, and more than 150,000 are believed to have crossed the border into neighboring Ukraine.

Frank Vyakorka, an assistant to Belarusian opposition leader Svyatlana Zihanusskaya, said that Shisov’s death was “absolutely shocking and shocking to all of us. Accident”.Zihanusskaya Meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson In London on Tuesday, she was urging tougher sanctions against the Lukashenko regime.

“he [Shyshov] He and his friends are helping people who have moved to Ukraine. They are organizing properties and apartments, and helping new immigrants start working there again,” Vyakoka told the Financial Times. “They are very helpful, especially for those who are new. People who arrive but don’t know what to do. ”

Viacorka said that many activists living in Ukraine, such as Shyshov, who fled Belarus in 2020, “complained about possible tracking and threats.”

The Kiev park where Shyshov was found after failing to go home after jogging © Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Ukrainian police said they are filing criminal proceedings against suspected murder, but will also investigate other possibilities, including “murder disguised as suicide.”

Yuriy Shchutsko, an acquaintance and a Belarusian refugee, discovered Shyshov’s body. He claimed that Shyshov had a broken nose and ruled out the possibility of suicide.

“I suspect this is [Belarus] KGB. .. We know they are looking for us,” he told Ukrainian TV.

The head of the Ukrainian National Police, Ihor Kremenko, later stated that Shisov’s nose and other wounds appeared to have “teared tissues”, but he also emphasized that these were caused by the beatings or were determined by the forensic doctor. , Will be determined by the forensic doctor. The result of suicide.

Lukashenko or his government did not immediately comment.

The Belarusian House said: “There is no doubt that this is an action planned by the Chikhists. [the Belarusian KGB] Eliminate those who are truly dangerous to the regime.

“Vitalik is under surveillance,” it added. “Local sources and our people in the Republic of Belarus have repeatedly warned us about various provocative acts of kidnapping and liquidation.”

This week, Belarus received more attention at the Tokyo Olympics Sprinter Christina Zimanusskaya After her Belarusian coach criticized her for being taken to the airport, she took refuge in the Polish embassy.

Five years ago, Pavel Sheremet, a well-known opposition figure and journalist born in Belarus, was blown up by an improvised bomb while driving to work at a local radio station in the center of Kiev. Five years later, Shisov ( Shyshov) passed away. Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994.

The Ukrainian authorities initially hinted that Belarus or the Russian security services might be involved in the attack, because Sheremet also had close ties to the Russian opposition movement.

Instead, officials charged three Ukrainian volunteers with support for the war effort against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine—despite their categorical denial of involvement, and the authorities’ inability to provide motivation for what is widely described as a fragile case.

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