Procurator’s Office Searches for Zavadski’s Body in Orsha and Krupki
The active investigative measures were renewed on the case of the disappearance of Dzmitry Zavadski, cameraman of the Russian ORT TV channel. On the solicitation of Hary Pahaniaila, defense lawyer of Zavadski’s relatives, the investigation searches for the body in the towns of Orsha and Krupki. The General Procurator’s Office of Belarus tells nothing about the details of this search, referring to the secret of investigation.
The investigative group of the procurator’s office started working in Orsha on 4 May. The investigators check the information about the body of the unknown man, who in 2000 was taken there from Krupki and re-buried. According to Hary Pahaniaila, this man can be Dzmitry Zavadski:
(Pahaniaila): -- The court found that Ihnatovich’s gang had relation to his disappearance. Ihatovich was born in Krupki. People saw him near Krupki, in Malinauka are, when Zavadski disappeared. Later bodies of two killed men were found there. Who were they and did former riot squad police officer Ihnatovich have relation to these deaths? There are also many questions concerning the re-burials of these bodies.
According to Hary Pahaniaila’s information, the people whose bodies were later buried in the wood were at first tortured with the use of special means and only then killed. Strangely enough, he points, the local law machinery didn’t conduct any investigation, but hurried to bury the bodies as non-identified. Later one of the bodies was recognized by relatives, taken to a settlement near Orsha and buried there. However, recently it has been found that the person who was buried is alive. It became interesting to the lawyer, who was buried in Orhsa precincts and he filed the appropriate petition to the procurator’s office of Belarus. According to Hary Pahaniaila, the investigators thoroughly questioned him about the circumstances of the case he knew and then decided to check the information.
The investigative group on Zavadski’s case is still headed by Ivan Branchel, investigator of the cases of especial importance. In 2001 he and his assistants found that Zavadski was kidnapped by Ihnatovich’s gang, but the body still hasn’t been found. Hary Pahaniaila often called the investigative measures on this case “imitation of investigation”:
(Pahaniaila): -- I still state that the investigation demonstrates no intention to confirm the version about the political motives of the disappearances and the relation of the high-level state officials to them”.
We should remind that the ORT cameraman disappeared on the way to Minsk airport on 7 July 2000. Belarusian human rights activists are of the opinion that his disappearance is connected to the disappearances of the opposition activists Iury Zakharanka, Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski. The European structures have often criticized the Belarusian authorities for their reluctance to investigate the cases of the missing. A number of the Belarusian officials, who are suspected in organization of the kidnap, were declared personae non-grata in Europe. Among them there are the head of the presidential administration Viktar Sheiman, the minister of sport and tourism Iury Sivakou and the minister of internal affairs Uladzimir Navumau. According to the information, it was Uladzimir Navumau, who visited Ihnatovich in the KGB isolator, when Ihnatovich was arrested on suspicion in the kidnap of Zavadski. Besides, during the trial Ihnatovich didn’t say where Dzmitry Zavadski’s body was.
In March 2002 four persons were imprisoned for this crime: Valiery Ihnatovich and Maksim Malik received life sentence, Aliaksiei Huz – 25 years of jail and Siarhiei Savushkin – 12 years of jail. However, Savushkin was released in 2004, because in 2003 there was adopted the new Criminal Code where the punishment for robbing was decreased (Savushkin was found guilty in robbing only).
On 27 November 2003 Minsk Frunzenski borough court officially confessed Dzmitry Zavadski dead.
In March 2004 the procurator’s office suspended the investigation of Dzmitry Zavadski’s case “because the missing person wasn’t found”. On 7 April the case was renewed “due to the necessity of additional investigative measures”.