An activist whose NGO simply helped the husband of a Belarus Olympian who defected to Poland escape to Ukraine has been discovered hanged in a park in Kiev.
Vitaly Shishov, whose Belarus Home in Ukraine has helped many dissidents who discover themselves within the sights of autocratic chief Alexander Lukashenko get to security, left Belarus in 2020 after feeling threatened after the broadly disputed election outcomes and harsh crackdown. Shishov had been warned by each Ukrainian officers and his allies in Belarus that the group was beneath surveillance and topic to “varied provocations, together with kidnapping and liquidation.” He had instructed pals that lately on his day by day run, he had been approached by strangers and had seen surveillance.
His loss of life, which is being investigated by Ukrainian officers as both a homicide or suicide, comes someday after sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya accepted asylum from Poland after refusing to board a flight to Minsk after the Belarus Olympics team pulled her from competition as a result of she complained about her coach on social media. Tsimanouskaya’s husband, Arseniy Zdanevich, additionally an athlete, instantly fled to Ukraine on Sunday with the assistance of Belarus Home, in response to media studies.
Authorities haven’t formally tied the 2 incidents collectively.
Earlier than his loss of life, Shishov instructed these he labored with that he had a sense one thing would possibly occur to him, in response to Yury Shchuchko, who labored on the NGO with him. “We now have been warned to be extra cautious, as a result of a community of Belarus KGB brokers is working right here and the whole lot is feasible,” Shchuchko instructed media outlet Present Time. “Vitaly requested me to care for his family members. He had a bizarre feeling.”
Shchuchko, who was a part of the search social gathering who was on the lookout for Shishov after he didn’t return from a run on Monday morning, instructed the Related Press he had marks in keeping with being crushed on his face. “Nothing was stolen, he was in common garments folks placed on to work out, and he solely had his cellphone with him,” Shchuchko mentioned.
Belarus has turn out to be more and more harmful for dissidents, including journalists like Roman Protasevich, who was taken into custody in Minsk on Might 23, after a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius, Lithuania, was pressured to land over a false bomb menace. He and his associate, Sofia Sapega, had been launched individually into home arrest however stay beneath fixed surveillance, in response to BBC Russia. They’ve reportedly each “confessed” to their crimes, together with organizing mass unrest, on Belarus tv.
Early Tuesday, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the exiled chief of Belarus’ democratic forces and probably the rightful winner of its 2020 election, posted her due to Ukraine authorities for investigating Shishov’s loss of life.
In an announcement, the Belarus Home in Ukraine group blamed the Belarus authorities for Shishov’s loss of life. “There is no such thing as a doubt that this was a deliberate operation by safety operatives to liquidate a Belarusian, harmful for the regime,” the group mentioned in an announcement. “We’ll proceed to combat for the reality about Vitaly’s loss of life.”