20 January 2018, Saturday, 6:06

Alyaksandr Atroshchankau: Political killings became a technology


The Belarusian authorities are ready to further abduct and kill their opponents.

Alyaksandr Atroshchankau, a coordinator of European Belarus civil campaign and former political prisoner, spoke about this in an interview with Belsat TV channel.

The much-publicised political abductions in Belarus took place in 1999. On the evening of May 7, interior minister Yury Zakharanka, who started an open confrontation with the Lukashenka regime for the law and conscience, disappeared near his home in Minsk. The case over his disappearance and the cases of former vice speaker of the Supreme Council of the 13th convocation Viktar Hanchar and businessman Anatoly Krasouski, who disappeared in the same black year, as well as the case of ORT cameraman Zmitser Zavadski haven't given answers to main questions: where these people are and what happened to them?

The official investigation keeps silence. The opposition, the international community and human rights activists accuse the authorities both of failure to act and involvement in the high-profile abduction cases.

“The much-publicised abductions took place in 1999-2000, but during these years Lukashenka created a new generation of law-enforcement officers ready to fulfil all orders. They are ready to kill. We remember Veronika Cherkasova, Aleh Byabenin and other cases of abductions,” Alyaksandr Atroshchankau said.

He thinks abductions of regime's opponents will go on.

“Political killings in our country became a technology that can be improved and developed. There are people in Belarus that deal with it. They are professionals,” he said.

The former political prisoner is sure involvement of the authorities in the abductions cannot be hidden in the time of information technologies. The events in neighbouring countries, in particular the sentence to a killer of Ukrainian journalist Georgy Gongadze, show it.

Alyaksandr Atroshchnkau noted that the further growth of political killings was prevented by human rights activists and journalists thanks to the opposition.

“It is a great achievement that these abductions and deaths affected many Belarusians. It is the merit of the opposition, human rights activists, journalists and the whole Belarusian society. Spreading information about these cases gave the authorities to understand they [the cases] will not be forgotten. Human rights defenders and journalists carried out investigations when it was possible. Many of them had to leave the country and continue their work abroad,” he said.

The former political prisoner is confident that opponents of the regime, especially those imprisoned, are still in danger. He reminded about the provocations against them organised by prison authorities.

“We can speak about  presumption of guilt in this case. The opponents of the regime were thrown into prisons when they were healthy. It something happens to them, it will be the guilt of the prison administration and the authorities,” he said.