Imprisoned Belarusian activist Vitold Ashurak, who died in the penal colony under questionable circumstances, was buried on May, 26 in his native town of Byarozauka. Those who were attending the funeral could see serious injuries on Vitold’s head, neck, and hands.
Many of his associates from Biarozauka, Lida and the entire Hrodna region were present at the farewell ceremony; there were also residents of Minsk and other cities. Representatives of the embassies of the United States and EU member countries arrived at Byarozauka as well.
When the ceremony in the ritual hall was over, the coffin was carried to Vitold’s house, where neighbours said their last goodbye to the deceased. From there, the funeral procession moved to the church, passing by the glass factory, where Vitold had worked for many years. Some workers went to the checkpoint to pay the final respects to the former colleague. When the coffin was brought to the church, the participants raised their hands, showing the V sign.
After the service for the dead, the procession headed to the cemetery, where the priest read the last prayers; Vitold’s mother were lamenting. His brother took the floor; according to him, Vitold once said that in the event of his death he would like to be covered with a white-red-white flag and buried in such a way. His request was fulfilled; the attenders also chanted ‘Long Live Belarus’ and sand God Almighty, one of the hymns of the Belarusian nation.
Vitold Ashurak, an activist from Byarozauka, Hrodna regional coordinator of the movement For Freedom, member of the BPF Party Seim, passed away in the penal colony in Shklou, Belsat TV reported last Friday. In January, judge Maksim Filatau passed a guilty verdict in the case; he sentenced the defendant to 5 years in a minimum security penal colony for ‘participation in the group actions that grossly violate public order’ (i.e. for taking part in the 2020 post-election protests) and ‘violence against a police officer’.
It took his relatives a few days to get a permission to collect his body. Family friend and journalist Volha Bykouskaya told Belsat that Vitold‘s head was ‘bandaged from the crown to the nose, with only his mouth visible’. Bykouskaya went to pick up the body together with the brother of the deceased.
The family decided not to do additional examinations, as they did not trust the possible results and did not want to delay the funeral. The wife of the deceased was told that Vitold Ashurak died of cardiac arrest. She stresses that Vitold never had heart issues.
On May 25, the Belarusian Investigative Committee published a shocking video in which they say Vitоld Ashurak’s death was captured. The man appearing in the video (his face is not visible) falls and hits his head in the cell; then his head is bandaged and he is left alone, but later, he falls again and passes away.