Raman Bandarenka’s body not given to family yet

‘We won’t forget, we won’t forgive!’ Banner in yard commonly known as Square of Change. 13 November 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

The Belarusian authorities are holding off on the decision to hand over the murdered Minsker’s body to his relatives.

On Monday morning, Raman Bandarenka‘s mother made two visits to the Prosecutor General’s Office in order to obtain permission to collect the body, but she was not received by officials. No one got in touch with her over the situation, Tut.by reports.

“We visited the Investigative Committee last Friday, they said that the Prosecutor General’s Office had already got the case and we should apply there. We did so, but we have not had any response yet. We were told that the investigator was bound to issue permission for outgiving the body. We do not know whether an examination was conducted or not. Raman’s body has not been given to us yet, nobody has contacted us. But we do need to arrange the funeral… the fourth day has passed,” Raman’s cousin Volha Kucharenka said.

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. The two men have not commented on the suspicions yet. Belarusian human rights watchdogs called on the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office to open a criminal investigation into Bandarenka’s death and urged the police to search for those involved in the crime.

When the death was confirmed last Thursday, 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.

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

‘I am going out’: March of Brave People taking place in Belarus