Vitali Shishov, director of a Belarusian NGO who had been missing since Monday in Ukraine, was found hanged in Kiev, announced on Tuesday (3) the police, who have launched an investigation for “murder”.
“Belarusian citizen Vitali Shishov, who disappeared yesterday in Kiev, was found hanging today in one of Kiev’s parks, close to where he resided,” Ukrainian police said in a statement.
According to one of the investigated hypotheses, the case could be a “murder camouflaged as a suicide”, the police indicated.
Shishov, who heads the organization “Belarusian House in Ukraine”, an NGO helping Belarusian citizens who have fled the country, went for a run on Monday morning in Kiev and did not return home.
Shishov’s NGO denounced Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime of being behind the assassination.
“There is no doubt that it is an operation planned by the ‘Chekists’ (a term for the Belarusian security forces) to liquidate a Belarusian who posed a real danger to the regime,” said the organization “Belarusian House in Ukraine” in its Telegram account.
Belarusian human rights NGO Viasna reported on the Telegram that, according to friends of Shishov, he had already been followed by “strangers” during his races.
Several Belarusians fled the country and headed especially for Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania, in a period of intense repression of opposition to the Lukashenko regime, which has governed since 1994 the former Soviet republic, which is halfway between the EU and Russia.
Vitali Shishov’s case came a day after the incident at the Tokyo Olympics with Belarusian athlete Kristina Tsimanuskaya, who said she was forced to abandon the competition and was threatened with being sent back to the country after she criticized the athletic federation of Belarus on social media.
The 24-year-old sprinter took refuge in the embassy of Poland, the country that granted a humanitarian visa on Monday.
The historic post-election protest movement in Belarus last year was repressed with numerous arrests, forced exiles of opponents and the dismantling of many NGOs and independent media.
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