Fugitive investigator detained in Russia taken to Belarus

A former employee of the Belarusian Investigative Committee, recently detained in Russia, has been taken to Belarus, his lawyer Vladislav Golovin told Dozhd.

He said that according to the police station of Pskov police, Andrei Astapovich had been released. Then, according to the lawyer, the man was taken away by unknown people and taken to the territory of Belarus. The details of the incident are still unknown.

Astapovich was detained in the Pskov hotel Rizhskaya on August 21. A few days earlier, a senior investigator of the Partisan District Department of the Investigative Committee resigned and placed a post in the social networks with an appeal to “expel the dictator”.

The detention took place before the request for extradition of Astapovich from Russia was issued by the Belarusian side.

Andrei was waiting for his Latvian visa in Pskov. The day before the Latvian authorities approved his status of political refugee and he only had to wait for the documents to be produced.

Astapovich crossed the border with Belarus near Smolensk, went to Moscow and from there arrived in Pskov. According to Astapovich’s lawyer, the special services were able to track him from Moscow, despite all his precautions. The lawyers were not allowed to see the detainee.

There was no precise information about why Astapovich was detained. The reason could have been an accusation of illegal border crossing due to restrictions related to the spread of coronavirus infection.