Relatives of the murdered journalist Veranika Charkasava are not satisfied with investigation progression
On 20 April it is 6 months since our colleague, a journalist on the independent newspaper Salidarnasts, a member of the Belarusian Association of Journalists Veranika Charkasava was murdered. On the eve of the occasion the Belarusian Association of Journalists staged a press-briefing attended by Veranika’s family and colleagues.
Andrei Bastuniets, the deputy chair of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, said at the briefing that a week ago BAJ addressed the Procurator’s Office of Belarus asking for a special press-conference, where the officials would inform the journalists of the investigation progression. However, according to the press-secretary of this agency, the Procurator’s Office handed over to the First National TV Channel all the information it had in the case, and so had nothing to communicate to other media.
Veranika’s mother, Diana Charkasava, said she got the impression the officials had not been able to progress in the case beyond the starting point: just as before the investigators argue that they have two suspects - the 15 year old son and step-father of the journalist, and keep saying that the relatives have been interfering with the investigation. At the same time, the regulation that cancelled the undertaking not to leave the city says that the investigation authorities had not obtained any objective evidence implicating them in the crime.
Anton Filimonau, Veranika Charkasava’s son, is still in Moscow, where his father had taken him, fearing that the officials would put the son to forced clinical psychiatric examination. The minor has demonstrated quite good progress in a Moscow school, and is going to take 9th grade examinations. According to his grandmother, Anton misses Belarus very much. However, he might be persecuted by the procurator’s office if he chooses to go back. The letter received by Charkasava’s relatives from Mikalai Kulik, deputy procurator of Minsk says that the procurator’s office does not see “any grounds for dropping criminal charges against” the minor. “So, what’s more, we have in fact lost our grandson”, says Diana Charkasava.
Aliaxandr Starykievich, the senior editor of the Salidarnasts, which employed Veranika Charkasava in the past few years, says that quite a few colleagues of Veronika take an indifferent approach to this case looks the saddest thing of all. “When they murdered Gangadze in Ukraine, this continued to be a major topic in the Ukrainian newspapers for several following years”, underscores the senior editor of the Salidarnasts. He is convinced that the murder of Veranika Charkasava can be compared to the disappearance of the ORT cameraman Dzmitry Zavadski in 2000. A.Starykievich believes that the attention this case may receive from the media can help find the actual perpetrators of the crime, and prevent such crimes from happening in the future.
The Press Service of Belarusian Association of Journalists.