Abducted journalist’s case: Court declares dead, investigators wash hands off

14 years ago journalist Zmitser Zavadski disappeared under unascertained circumstances.

On the morning of July 7, 2013 the journalist of Russian Public Television (now – Channel 1) was heading for the National Airport Minsk to meet his colleague Pavel Sheremet. Nobody has seen Zmitser since then. His car was found in the airport.

In 2002 a group of persons headed by two former special forces agents, Valery Ihnatovich and Maxim Malik, who allegedly avenged themselves on the cameraman for bringing accusations of cooperation with Chechen militants, was found guilty of abducting Mr Zavadski. The group leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment. But few people believe the convicts to have had their hands in the kidnapping. They pleaded not guilty. Zmitser’s destiny is still unknown.

‘We don’t know what really happened to Zmitser. We have ground to blame some persons, but they never have been lawed, they are at liberty,’ his wife Sviatlana Zavadskaya says.

According to independent experts, top state officials might have been behind the abduction of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s personal cameraman; special forces being actual perpetrators. The public also suspects the so-called death squad under command of Colonel Dzmitry Pavlichenka of the participation in kidnapping and alleged murders of ex-Interior minister Yury Zakharanka, ex-Chair of the Central Election Commission Viktar Hanchar, businessman Anatol Krasouski.

‘I do not rule out that all these operations were orchestrated by one and the same person or a group of people,’ lawyer Hary Pahaniayla says.

The case over Zavadski’s disappearance was repeatedly suspended and reopened again. In November, 2013 court declared him dead, but his body has been not found yet. This year Zmitser Zavadski would turn 42.


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