A missing Belarusian activist was found dead on Tuesday morning in a park in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, where he lived. This has been announced by the police in Kiev, international news agencies report. Police have opened an investigation into the case, including murder.
The activist, Vitali Shisjov, had left home on Monday morning for a jog and never returned. His body was found a day later. According to the police, Shisjov was “hanged” in a park “not far from his home.” The fact that Shisjov was hanged, according to the police, may indicate that any murderers have tried to give the impression of suicide. For now, however, the police are keeping all options open.
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Shisjov led an NGO from Kiev with which he helped Belarusians escape persecution by the dictatorial government in Minsk, according to Reuters news agency. According to Viasna, another Belarusian human rights organization, he had already been followed by “strange” figures during previous runs.
The regime of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko persecutes and represses critical journalists and activists on a large scale. In April, Belarus forced a plane carrying government critic Roman Pratasevich and his girlfriend to land in Minsk. The duo was arrested and is now under house arrest. A riot is currently going on around the athlete Kristina Tsimanoeskaja, who was forced to return to her home country after comments to her coaches and the Belarus Olympic Committee. She refused and has now been granted a humanitarian visa for Poland.