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An Activist Who Helped Persecuted Belarusians Flee The Country

No.901697 ViewReplyOriginalReport
Is Found Hanged

https://www.npr.org/2021/08/03/1024199180/belarus-activist-dead-ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine — A Belarusian activist who ran a group in Ukraine helping Belarusians fleeing persecution was found dead in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, local police said Tuesday.

Vitaly Shishov, leader of the Kyiv-based Belarusian House in Ukraine, was found hanged in one of the city's parks not far from his home, police said in a statement.

A probe has been launched, with police investigating whether it was a suicide or a murder made to look like suicide, head of Ukraine's National Police Igor Klymenko told reporters on Tuesday.

The Belarusian House in Ukraine reported Monday that Shishov had gone missing during a morning run. The Belarusian human rights center Viasna cited Shishov's friends as saying that he has recently been followed by strangers during his runs.

The Belarusian House in Ukraine helps Belarusians fleeing persecution with their legal status in Ukraine, accommodation and employment.

There have been protests against the authoritarian leader of Belarus since last year
In Belarus in recent weeks, authorities have ramped up the pressure against non-governmental organizations and independent media, conducting more than 200 raids of offices and apartments of activists and journalists in July alone, and detaining dozens of people.

Authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko has vowed to continue what he called a "mopping-up operation" against civil society activists whom he has denounced as "bandits and foreign agents."

Lukashenko faced months of protests triggered by his being awarded a sixth term in an August 2020 vote that the opposition and the West saw as rigged. He responded to demonstrations with a massive crackdown that saw more than 35,000 people arrested and thousands beaten by police.