7 May: ten years since the kidnapping of Yury Zakharanka
General Yury Zakharanka disappeared on 7 May 1999. Witnesses of the kidnapping, found not by investigative agencies but by a public commission on search for the missing general, say Zakharanka was forcefully taken away by some men.
Some years before the incident Zakharanka was resigned as he didn’t share the views of Alexander Lukashenka and his inner circle. The former interior minister was highly esteemed among his colleagues, he was creating the Union of Officers. His oppositional activity constituted a danger to the authorities.
Many people in Belarus and abroad think he was kidnapped on political motives and probably killed. The Belarusian authorities say the investigation is not closed and the reasons of Zakharanka’s kidnapping as well as his destiny are unknown.
The prosecutor’s office of Minsk extended till 24 June the investigation in the case of disappearance of the former interior minister Yury Zakharanka.
‘Terms of investigation have been extended till 24 June 24 2009’, the human rights defender Aleh Vouchak told in an interview to the Charter’97 press center. ‘This is a standard three-sentence notice, another formal reply. I have 15 such notices. The prosecutor’s office just want to account to the Commission on Enforced Disappearances of the UN Commission on Human Rights. I can state there has been no progress in the investigation. We still have no hopes for changes.’
The international community believes high-ranked Belarusian officials, in particular, the minister of internal affairs Uladzimir Navumau, the former Security Council secretary Viktar Sheiman, the former interior minister Yury Sivakou and the commander of special troops Dzmitry Paulichenka are involved in abductions of Yury Zakharanka and other leaders of the Belarusian opposition.