On 9 August 2020, 25-year-old Alyaksandr Vikhor was detained by riot police in Homiel and sentenced to 10 days of administrative arrest for ‘participating in protest rallies’.
Alyaksandr’s mother Svyatlana Vikhor says that he did not take part in protests, he was just going on a date. After the trial he was taken to Chyhunachny police department, and then escorted to the pre-trial detention centre.
“He texted me that he had been caught. I have been in search of him all this time. No one provided me with any information about him. Today I has been told that Sasha is in the morgue,” his mother told RFE/RL.
During the detention, a riot policeman knocked Vikhor to the ground and stepped on his neck, which was recorded by the Investigative Committee during the check.
According to his mother, the young man had heart problems. Due to the lack of places in Homiel detention centres, the detainees were reportedly being kept in vans in the blazing sun for a long time. Alyaksandr got sick; he begged for help, shouted, but the policemen thought he was insane and sent him to a mental hospital. There his condition took a turn for the worse; the young man was taken to the intensive care unit, but it was too late – the doctors did not manage to save his life. They said he was brought in a state of clinical death, Svyatlana added.
Another detainee, Syarhei Shoman from Homiel, states that he was with Alyaksandr after the trial in the same car. He says that the victim was not feeling well, tried to get out and called for his mother. During the transfer, the car was sprayed with pepper gas.
Alyaksandr was buried on 16 August 2020 in Homiel; the funeral service was held in St. Mikhail Church in Kastyukouka residential area. Thousands of people came there to say their last goodbye to him. According to Svyatlana Vikhor, her son was tortured and murdered, but the death certificate read: ‘the cause of death not yet established’.
Later, Syarhei Udavikou, the head of the Homiel department of the Investigative Committee, claimed that there was no ‘criminal component’ in the tragic death of the young man. In accordance with the version voiced by him, the use of physical force against him ‘reasonable’, and the cause of death was ‘a heart disease which suddenly became acute’. Udavikou also claims that Vikhor got fractures of the ribs and sternum as a result of resuscitation measures. Recently, Syarhei Udavikou has been promoted to the rank of general.
Alyaksandr Vikhor became the second person, whose death was officially confirmed during the protests in Belarus. The first man was Alyaksandr Taraykouski who was shot down by the police on August 10 at Pushkinskaya metro station in Minsk. In both cases, no security officer has been held liable.