Authorities refuse to open criminal case against officers who shot down protester Taraykouski

Раying last tribute to Alyaksandr Taraykouski, first victim amid post-election protests in Belarus. Minsk, 15 August 2020. Photo: АВ / Belsat

The Investigative Committee decided against launch criminal proceedings over the death of Minsker Alyaksandr Taraykouski, its chairman Ivan Naskevich told news agency BelTA.

At about 11 pm on August 10, during ‘mass clashes’ near Pushkinskaya metro station in Minsk, Taraykouski, who was ‘ in a state of intoxication’ detached himself from the crowd and, ‘despite numerous warnings voiced by law enforcement officers’, started to move towards them, the investigators claim.

“By his actions Taraykouski was provoked law enforcement officers, they were unaware of his goal and excusatory intentions. Keeping in mind the intel information about the feasibility of terrorist attacks and the protesters’ having explosives and arms, they perceived the situation as a real threat to the lives and health of both officers and protesters. in light of this, law enforcement officers followed the instructions and used against him non-lethal weapon, the application of which is aimed not at defeating, but at physical stopping, from a safe distance, which excludes death.

Due to the coincidental misfortune, one of the injuries turned out to be penetrating, which resulted in Taraikouski’s death at the scene, ” Naskevich said.

In the leaked audio recording published in mid January, a man whose voice bears a strong resemblance to the voice of Deputy Interior Minister Mikalai Karpyankou, mentions Alyaksandr Taraykouski, calling him a ‘drunkard and moron’ who was ‘snuffed out by a rubber bullet that flew into his chest’.

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Alyaksandr Taraykouski, a 34-year-old resident of Minsk, was killed during the crackdown on protesters at Pushkinskaya metro station on August, 10. His death was confirmed by the authorities, but many people doubt the official version. According to the Interior Ministry, the man was about to throw an improvised explosive device at the security officers, but it exploded in his hand.

In mid August, the Associated Press news agency published a video of Taraykouski’s death. The video shows flashes from law enforcement shots and a man in shorts and a T-shirt with a large bloody stain on his chest. He holds on to the wound with his hand and then falls to the ground. The video clearly shows no explosives in the protester’s hands. Alyaksandr Taraykouski’s wife identified him in this footage.

Although there are witnesses to the man’s death, no criminal case has never been initiated. At the same time, hefty verdicts were given to five defendants over ‘hooliganism’ due to the fact that they paid tribute to Taraykouski, the first Belarusian who had fallen victim during the protests in 2020.

There are other deaths linked to post-election protests (Henadz Shutau, Mikita Kryutsou, Alyaksandr Vikhor, Kanstantsin Shyshmakou, Artsyom Parukou, Raman Bandarenka).

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