‘Shots in silence’: Wounded protester from Brest dies, official version debatable

On Wednesday morning, 43-year-old Henadz Shutau has passed away in military hospital in Minsk. He got a gunshot wound to the head during the crackdown on protests in Brest on August, 11.

Scene of the incident and the ambulance car that took the casualty away. Photos by eyewitnesses

According to Henadz’ family, he was at first admitted to Brest Regional Hospital, but then taken in an unconscious state by helicopter to Minsk military hospital, his diagnosis being ‘open penetrating gunshot wound to skull, brain smash injury. Skull cup multifragmental fracture, skull base affected’. It took the relatives two days to find out what happened and where the casualty was located.

On August 12, the Belarusian Interior Ministry reported that ‘a group of aggressive citizens with bars in their hands’ attacked police officers in Brest the day before. Warning shots up did not stop them, the officials claim.

“To protect the lives and health of officers, deadly force was used. One of the attackers was wounded,” the statement reads.

Health Ministry: Some people died before reaching hospitals

However, the family refers to eyewitnesses and says that Henadz Shutau did not attack anyone – he was just walking when someone shot him down from the roof of the building. Belsat keeps getting similar information from our sources.

Thus, an eyewitness stated: “No one shouted or chanted anything; about three shots in a row were fired almost in silence.”

According to the source, there were no uniformed policemen nearby in the course of the incident, but some people in civvies were driving away from the scene and waiting for an ambulance car next to the wounded. When the man was loaded into the car, they disappeared. One of them was caught in the photo.

Notably, Alyaksandr Astreyka, head of Brest regional police department, said apart from the police, soldiers of the 38th assault brigade were also involved in ‘regaining order’.

Henadz Shutau is not the first victim whom Belarus has lost during protests. Alyaksandr Taraykouski, 34, died on August, 10 in Minsk. Judjing by video footage available, he was shot dead, but the Interior Ministry officially stated that a self-made bomb exploded in his hands.

Belarusians say last goodbye to Alyaksandr Taraykouski. 15 August 2020. Photo: Alyaksandr Vasyukovich / Vot-tak.tv / Belsat.eu

On August 16, 19-year-old Artsyom Parukau was fatally hit by a car in Partyzanski Avenue, the Belarusian authorities report.

Last farewell to Alyaksandr Vikhor in Homiel. 16 August 2020. Photo: Belsat.eu

25-year-old Alyaksandr Vikhor, who was detained on August 9, died in Homiel. His mother says police officers refused to provide him with medical help for long.

‘Where is Kanstantsin Shyshmakou?”. Picket in Minsk. 18 August 2020. Photo: Svyatlana Far / Vot-tak.tv / Belsat.eu

The body of 29-year-old Kanstantsin Shyshmakou, who refused to sign the final report as a member of a local election commission in Vaukavysk, was found in Vaukavysk.

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