First modification: 08/03/2021 – 17:47
Vitaly Shishov was the leader of an association of Belarusian opponents exiled in Ukraine and was found hanged in a park in Kiev. The local police are continuing the investigation of a possible murder that has tried to imitate a suicide since they found blows and abrasions on the activist’s body.
One of the most important heads of the Belarusian opposition to Alexander Lukashenko was found dead in a park in Kiev. The news of the death of Vitaly Shishov, leader of the House of Belarus in Ukraine, an opposition organization in exile, has fueled suspicions of the murder of this renowned figure and increased criticism of the Belarusian government.
Shishov disappeared on Monday, August 1, when he went out for a run and was found hanged in a park in Kiev. The Ukrainian authorities have raised two lines of investigation: the possible suicide and the false murder with an apparent suicide. This last line has become relevant because the politician was found with blows to the face and abrasions on his legs.
The figure of this opponent was key during the protests in Belarus against the Government of Alexander Lukashenko. For several weeks he demanded his resignation for what they considered electoral fraud in the August 2020 elections. Shishov, however, was forced to flee the country after political persecution carried out by the authorities.
The most important opposition figures are currently imprisoned or under the auspices of the European Union or Ukraine. Among these figures is Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, the only person who was able to stand in the elections against Lukashenko and the best known voice in the complaint against the Belarusian president, who has been in power for more than 26 years.
Tikhanovskaya assured through his Telegram channel that “Belarusians cannot feel safe even when they are abroad as long as there are people who want to take revenge on them and hide the truth.” For politics, this action is related to the repression of the Belarusian state.
We are in contact with @MFA_Ukraine regarding the death of Belarusian activist Vital Shyshou & the incident with athlete Krystsina Tsymanouskaya, whose husband fled from Belarus to Ukraine. Grateful to 🇺🇦 authorities for a prompt reaction & support of repressed Belarusians. pic.twitter.com/xceuafCjZ1
– Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya (@Tsihanouskaya) August 3, 2021
Shishov had commented in the weeks leading up to his death that he felt “persecuted” and “watched.” According to his friends, the activist had noticed that unknown people were addressing him senselessly and how unidentified cars were following him to his home.
Several of his colleagues assured that they had received warning messages in the presence of members of the Belarusian KGB in Kiev that they could perfectly carry out activities of repression or kidnapping.
Belarus targeted by the persecution of opponents
The situation of regression of basic rights in Belarus is of particular concern to the United Nations, which on more than one occasion has already lamented the authoritarian attitude of Lukashenko and his Executive.
Speaking to the EFE news agency, the spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, Marta Hurtado, assured that the latest case “adds another layer to our concerns” about a situation that “is clearly deteriorating in Belarus.”
The protests in Belarusian territory have decreased in intensity due to the thousands of arrests of activists and the flight of many others and the repression, but in recent weeks there have been situations of high international controversy.
In March 2021, a Ryanair company plane was forced to land in Minsk because opposition journalist Roman Protasevich was traveling on that flight to Vilnius. Protasevich was instantly detained by the authorities.
This action was especially condemned by the European Union, which banned all its flights from passing through Belarus after this incident and applied more sanctions to senior officials of the nation.
To this must be added the latest controversy in the middle of the Tokyo Olympics. The Belarusian athlete Krystina Tsimanouskaya denounced that her Olympic Committee forced her to return to her country for having made critical comments with the Government. Finally, he had to take refuge and got a pass from Poland.
The persecution against opponents has multiplied in Belarus and abroad in recent months after Lukashenko perceived as a “revolutionary” threat the protests that have been going on since August 2020 against his government.
With EFE and Reuters