Kidnapping of Hanchar and Krasouski: authorities have something to hide
The guilty of kidnapping of the oppositionists haven’t bee punished in spite of proofs and evidences.
Head of the Central Election Commission Viktar Hanchar and businessman Anatol Krasouski were kidnapped on September 16, 1999. They were walking down Fabrychnaya Street after visiting a bathhouse. Glass fragments from Krasouski’s car were later found on the site of forceful disappearance. Also blood was found on the glass fragments. A genomic examination defined with a probability of 99.9998% it was blood of Viktar Hanchar.
Mass media reported that there was a witness who had seen a red BMW car with three persons inside near the bathhouse on the day Hanchar and Krasouski had disappeared. A woman, who worked in the bathhouse, heard cries for help, noise and male voices.
The official investigation said “Hanchar and Krasouksi were kidnapped and taken in an unknown direction. Their further location is not possible to find out. “
Later, evidence of involvement of Belarusian authorities in disappearances of active opponents of Lukashenka’s regime was revealed.
Former head of the Main Criminal Militia Department of the Minister of Internal Affairs General Mikalai Lapatsik told in his report to the interior minister details of kidnapping of Viktar Hanchar, Anatol Krasouski, and former interior minister Yury Zakharanka, disappeared some months before:
“The catch and further elimination of Zakharanka was carried out by a group of soldiers led by Paulichenka (the commander of military unit 3214). A similar operation was carried out by Paulichenka and his group on 16.09.1999 to catch and kill Hanchar and Krasouski. The planned place of burial is a special plot on Paunochnya Cemetery.”
As former chief of the Minsk detention facility #1 Aleh Alkaeu stated, oppositionists Hanchar, Krasouski, and Zakharanka were killed from a special execution pistol that was given on an order of former minister of internal affairs Yury Sivakou.
The Special Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, who conducted an independent investigation of disappearances of Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski and made a report Disappeared in Belarus, said:
“The official execution pistol kept by Mr Alkaeu, who had been in charge of the unit executing the death penalty in Belarus, was indeed signed out twice by order of the then Minister of the Interior, Mr Sivakou, during periods coinciding with the disappearances of Mr Zakharanka on 7 May 1999 and Mr Hanchar and Mr Krasouski on 16 September 1999. The authorities cannot provide any alternative explanation for the temporary removals of the pistol.”
After an investigative group, consisted of officers of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB and prosecutor agencies, had caught the traces of kidnappers and arrested special rapid response squad commander Dzmitry Paulichenka, the Prosecutor General and the KGB Head were ousted. Paulichenka was released by order of Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
The international community states the fate of the missing Belarusian oppositionists should be cleared up. The UN Human Rights Committee, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly and the OSCE demand to reveal the truth about these disappearances.
A number of high ranking Belarusian officials, namely former interior minster Uladzimir Navumau, former secretary of the Security Council Viktar Sheiman, former interior minister Yury Sivakou, and former commander of the special rapid response unit Dzmitry Paulichenka were banned entry to the EU countries and the United States because they are suspected of involvement in kidnapping the oppositionists.
However, investigation of disappearances of the Belarusian oppositionists is not moving.
“I am very sceptical about a possibility of carrying out an objective investigation by the current authorities. There is simple answer to a simple question why this wasn’t done ten years ago – the authorities don’t need the truth. But we have the truth in Christos Pourgourides’s report, in the report by General Lapatsik, in the materials of an order to suspend the preliminary investigation of January 20, 2002 made by investigator Chumachenka. These are real documents made and signed by officials who based on real facts. This is not fiction that can disappear sooner or later, these documents are the truth about the events ten years ago. We know the truth and justice will triumph. Such crimes don’t have the statute of limitation,” head of We Remember Foundation Iryna Krasouskaya, widow of the abducted businessman and public figure, told in an interview to www.charter97.org.