Vitali Shishov, the director of a Belarusian NGO who has disappeared since Monday in Ukraine, was found hanged in Kiev, announced Tuesday the police, who launched an investigation for “murder”.
“The Belarusian citizen Vitali Shishov, disappeared yesterday in Kiev, was found hanged today in one of the parks of Kiev, near the place where he resided”, the Ukrainian police said in a statement released on Tuesday.
According to one of the versions under investigation, it could be a “death camouflaged as suicide”added the police.
Shishov, 26 years old and head of the organization “Belarusian House” in Ukraine, an NGO helping Belarusians who have fled the country, had gone out for a run in Kiev on Monday morning but had not returned.
His NGO on Tuesday denounced a “planned operation” by the regime of President Alexander Lukashenko.
“There is no doubt that this is an operation planned by the Chekists (term for the Belarusian security forces, ndlr) to liquidate a Belarusian who represented a real danger to the regime”, indicated the organization in its Telegram account.
“Vitali was being watched and the (Ukrainian) police had been informed of it. We had been warned on several occasions both by local sources and by people in Belarus of (the possibility of) all kinds of provocations that could go up to kidnapping and liquidation.” Continued the NGO.
The Belarusian human rights organization Viasna noted on Telegram that, according to Shishov’s friends, he had already been followed by “strangers” during his running outings.
According to “Belarusian House”, Shishov was forced to leave for Ukraine in the autumn of 2020 after taking part in anti-government demonstrations in Gomel, southern Belarus in August, and having “actively opposed” the authorities.
Many Belarusians fled their country, especially in the direction of Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania, in the framework of the fierce repression of the opposition to the Lukashenko regime, which since 1994 has led this former Soviet republic halfway between the EU and Russia.
In case of Shishov comes a day after the incident at the Tokyo Olympics with the Belarusian athlete Kristina Tsimanuskaya, who claimed to have been forced to withdraw from the competition and was threatened with being returned to her country after criticizing her federation on social media.
The 24-year-old sprinter took refuge in the Polish embassy, a country that granted her a humanitarian visa on Monday.
The historic protest movement after the Belarusian elections in 2020 was suppressed through massive arrests, forced exiles of opponents and the dismantling of numerous NGOs and independent media.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.