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European Parliament Urges Belarus To Fully Probe Activist's Death


Aleh Byabenin was found hanged

Aleh Byabenin was found hanged

European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek has called on the government of Belarus to conduct a full investigation into the mysterious death of prominent opposition activist Aleh Byabenin.

Byabenin operated the charter97.org website, which is highly critical of the government. He was found hanged at a country house outside the capital Minsk on September 3.

Prosecutors declared after an autopsy on September 4 that the death was a probable suicide.

But Byabenin's colleagues from Charter 97 and other opposition groups have rejected the finding.

Dzmitry Bondarenka, a friend of Byabenin and coordinator of civil campaign "European Belarus" told reporters on September 5 at a demonstration in Minsk that he has doubts about the ruling.

"We don't believe that it was a suicide, because there were no reasons for that. We are approaching the presidential election and Aleh should have played an important role in the campaign of the opposition candidate, [Andrey] Sannikau."

Dunja Mijatovic's, a representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said in a statement on September 6 that Belarusian authorities should hold an "independent investigation" into the mysterious death of Byabenin, warning that the case could lead to a "chilling effect" on media in the country.

Buzek, in a statement posted on the Charter 97 website, called for a "full and transparent" investigation into Bebenin's "tragic death."

compiled from agency reports
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