Rechytsa: Police hunting for friends of man who passed away after being detained

The human rights centre Viasna reports the detention of at least four close friends of Rechytsa resident Dzmitry Uskhopau who died on New Years’ Eve shortly after being detained by the local police.

The funeral was scheduled for today; Dzmitry’s friends Alyaksei Davydkau, Hanna Davydkava, Alyaksandr Snabkou and Illya Brakarenka were expected to attend it and provide assistance, but they failed to show up or pick up their phones. Their relatives have confirmed the facts of their being detained.

Notably, some more friends of Dzmitry Uskhopau are out of reach at the moment.

Rechytsa police beat local resident to death on New Year’s Eve, family claims

On the night of January 1, Dzmitry Uskhopau was going to his mother’s place; they were about to have a festal dinner. However, the man was detained by a police patrol at the bus stop at about 11 pm. In an interview with the media outlet Flagpost, a relative admits that Dzmitry and his friends were under the influence of alcohol at the moment of the detention; they had allegedly drunk some sparkling wine.

A bit later, the police officers brought him to the reception ward of the district hospital in a state of clinical death; he was certified dead at 1.20 am . When his relatives saw him, his clothes were torn, he seemed to have been poured with water – even his underwear was wet. On his forehead there was a 1.5 cm round wound. His wrists were blue (it should be noted that the Belarusian police often cuff detainees’ hands).

The family believes that the deceased was battered to death by officers at the police station. In turn, the Belarusian Investigative Committee says that the death of 27-year-old Dzmitry Uskhopau was not caused by any traumas – no injuries or internal fractures were reportedly found in the body. In accordance with the authorities version, Dzmitry Uskhopau was ‘heavily intoxicated’, and his condition took a turn for the worse only after they left the police station. At the same time, the investigators confirm the fact of using force against the detainee; according to them, the death was caused by drug and alcohol overdose.

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