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Belarus Starts New Investigation Into Attack That Killed Openly Gay Man

  • RFE/RL's Belarus Service

MINSK -- Belarusian authorities have started a fresh investigation into a high-profile attack that led to the death of an openly gay man.

Relatives of Mikhail Pishcheuski told RFE/RL on June 7 that investigators in Minsk informed them that they are now officially considered victims in the case.

The 34-year-old Pishcheuski, who was openly gay, sustained critical injuries to his head -- including a broken skull and internal hemorrhaging of his brain -- when he was attacked in May 2014.

Doctors removed about 20 percent of his brain in an attempt to save him, but Pischeuski never recovered from his injuries.

He died on October 27, 2015.

In January, 2015, Minsk resident Dzmitry Lukashevich was convicted and sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for "inflicting grievous bodily harm through negligence."

Prosecutors at the time refused to press hate-crime charges against Lukashevich, and he was released from prison in August 2015 -- before Pischeuski's death -- as part of a nationwide amnesty decree by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Investigators told Pischeuski's relatives that the new investigation was launched at the request of the Minsk city prosecutor because Pishcheuski had died.