Belarus authorities not to open criminal case over death allegedly linked to post-election protests

The Belarusian Investigative Committee (IC) has completed the probe into the death of 28-year-old Mikita Kryutsou from the town of Maladzechna, Minsk-Novosti news agency reports.

According to the committee, a criminal case will not be launched, as the deceased committed suicide.

The IC claims that there are no traces of fighting or dragging at the place where Kryutsou’s body was recovered. In addition, they published a video which they say shows the young man walking not far from the scene on August 12.

The investigators suggest that Kryutsou was in a state of emotional tension due to the would-be divorce, which might have rompted the decision to take his own life. However, his wife Alena, relatives and friends questioned the version, stressing that the deceased was a person who loved live and took divorce plans easy.

Mikita Kryutsou did not return home on August 12; ten days later, his body was found in the urban forest area in Partyzanski district of Minsk. It is known that Kryutsou took part in a peaceful rally in Maladzechna on August 9; many believe that security forces involved in the brutal crackdown on anti-Lukashenka protests might be responsible for Kryutsou’s death.

Maladzechna: Last farewell to Mikita Kryutsou. He disappeared during protests

In February, the Investigative Committee decided against launching criminal proceedings over the death of another protester, Minsker Alyaksandr Taraykouski. He was shot down by officers during dispersing protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station on August, 10. At the same time, hefty sentences were passed on five defendants over ‘hooliganism’ due to the fact that they paid tribute to Taraykouski.

There are other deaths linked to post-election protests (Henadz Shutau, Alyaksandr Vikhor, Kanstantsin Shyshmakou, Artsyom Parukou, Raman Bandarenka). The latter was abducted and beaten to death by plainclothes people; his murderers have not been found or identified yet. However, two Belsat contributors, Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Darya Chultsova, were sentenced to two years in prison for broadcasting live a violent dispersal of a rally in his memory. Moreover, a Minsk court passed a guilty verdict in the case of TUT.BY journalist Katsyaryna Barysevich and doctor Artsyom Sarokin for ‘violating medical privacy which entailed grave consequences’ (Art. 178-3). In her article about Bandarenka’s tragic death, Barysevich referred to Sarokin, a doctor working at Minsk emergency care hospital. He gave her medical records which showed that there had been no alcohol in the blood of the victim. The Belarusian authorities claim that Bandarenka was drunk.

It should be noted that captain Raman Haurylau and warrant officer Arseny Halitsyn who serve in military unit Nr 89417 (special operations forces) in the town of Maryina Horka were involved in the murder of Henadz Shutau in the course of post-election protests in Brest on August, 11. However, the court recognised them as victims while the deceased Shutau and witness Alyaksandr Kardzyukou were found guilty.

Protests-linked murder in Brest: Dead man found guilty, witness gets 10 years in jail, shooter declared victim