Health workers and journalists hold solidarity action in Minsk

On Tuesday, TUT.BY journalists and employees of Minsk emergency care hospital have faced the wall with their arms raised to show solidarity with their arrested colleagues. They were holding the cards ‘0 ‰’.

In her articles, TUT.BY journalist Katsyaryna Barysevich offered specifics on the tragic story of Minsker Raman Bandarenka who had been beaten to death by the police or Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s supporters. In turn, doctor Artsyom Sarokin gave her medical records which showed that there had been no alcohol in the blood of the victim. Its authenticity was later confirmed by Bandarenka’s mother. Government officials, including Lukashenka, keep claiming that Raman Bandarenka was in a state of intoxication shortly before the death.

Artsyom Sarokin and Katsyaryna Barysevich were arrested and charged with ‘violating medical privacy which entailed grave consequences’ (Art. 178-3 of the Criminal Code). The journalist and the doctor are being held in the notorious KGB prison ‘Amerykanka’. Notably, Bandarenka’s murderers have not been found or identified yet.

On November 11, plainclothes people arrived at the popular offstreet yard known as ‘Square of Change’ in Charvyakou Street and started to remove white and red ribbons (i.e. symbols in protesters’ colours) fastened on the fences. Raman Bandarenka, who resided in a block of flats not far from it, went out and asked what was going on. Bandarenka was put into a van and driven in an unknown direction.

‘He was drunk’: Lukashenka comments on Bandarenka’s death

Then Raman Bandarenka was taken to the neurosurgery unit from Tsentralny district police department where he spent about two hours on Wednesday evening. On November 12, the man slipped into a coma and died of severe head injuries. According to the Belarusian Interior Ministry, the policemen found ‘a citizen who got injuries in a fight’. Alyaksandr Lukashenka states that the deceased was ‘drunk’. But the medical papers anonimously published by health workers on Telegram say that there was 0% of ethanol in Bandarenka’s blood.

Last week, a number of sportspeople and Internet users familiar with the situation identified sports official Dzmitry Baskau and boxer Dzmitry Shakuta (who belong to Lukashenka’s coterie) in photos and videos of the masked persons who brutally attacked Raman Bandarenka.

When the death was confirmed, Belarusians started bringing flowers, posters and candles to the Square of Change to honour Raman’s memory. However, on November 15, pro-govt forces brutally dispersed the defenders of the makeshift memorial and took it down.

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