Dzmitry Uskhopau’s relatives have been evacuated from Belarus, Andrey Stryzhak, a co-founder of the BySol Foundation, says on Facebook.
The activist does not specify who of the Uskhopau family managed to flee Belarus and here they are currently staying.
On the night of January 1, Dzmitry Uskhopau, a 27-year-old resident of Rechytsa, resident 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 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.
“They killed him – the police killed him,” Alena, the mother of the deceased, told the newspaper Nasha Niva.
In turn, the Belarusian Investigative Committee says that the death of the 27-year-old man 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.
On January 4, the day of his funeral, the human rights defenders reports the detention of at least four close friends of Dzmitry Uskhopau (Alyaksei Davydkau, Hanna Davydkava, Alyaksandr Snabkou, Illya Brakarenka). Investigators claim that the detainees had a kilogram of marijuana.
Dzmitry’s sister said she fears for her life after pro-government Telegram channels were full of insultive posts about the victim and threats directed against his family.