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The activist from Byarozauka Vitold Ashurak died behind bars in Shklou colony in May 2021. The official investigation has not yet been completed and no criminal case has been initiated. But the “Alliance of Investigators of Belarus” together with Cyberpartisans held their own investigation. The results were told on video:
According to the investigators: at the time of escorting to the colony, Vitold Ashurak was healthy, but already in quarantine in the colony and in the penal isolator, he was brought to an extremely emaciated state.
The authorities have published a heavily edited low-quality video, allegedly showing the moment of Vitold Ashurak’s death and the events preceding it. According to the medical examiner, the fall of the man in the video (whether Ashurak or the actor) could have been caused by the effects of medication given to the prisoners by medics, or by exhaustion due to deprivation of food and sleep.
The proper medical care was clearly not provided to Ashurak (according to the official version, he allegedly refused it, but even then he had no right to be held in a punishment cell). The body of the deceased was given to his relatives with severe injuries that he had sustained while still alive.
Investigators blamed the administration of Shklou penal colony #17 for Vitold Ashurak’s death. The colony chief Alyaksandr Karniyenka, head of the security department of penal colony Syarhei Karcheuski, head of medical unit Natallia Dabradravets, psychiatrist and narcologist of penal colony Ihar Kadratsenkau, doctor of the medical unit Tatsyana Razvenkova and duty assistant chief of penal colony Dzyanis Sazonau are among those charged by investigators.
Investigators also put blame on police officers Vitali Pomakh, Mikalay Rabushka, Syarhei Vaytsushenka, and Vadzim Lukyan, who had previously drawn up reports on Ashurak for “unsanctioned actions,” and the senior investigator of Mahiliou region Pavel Starykoau who failed to act during the inspection of the death, and the state medical examiner Anatoli Bubenka who concealed the true causes of death.
According to the lawyer and investigators, they could be tried for causing death by negligence, failure to provide medical care, official inaction, and improper performance of duties by medical professionals, as well as for torture as a crime against human security. The article for the latter has no statute of limitations.
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