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Belarusian In Belgium Denies Russian Reports Suggesting Links To Attacks

A social-media photograph of Alyaksey Doubash (aka Khalid Doubash) whom Russian media outlets said was suspected of involvement in the Brussels bombings.

At least two pro-Kremlin media outlets issued reports on March 22 claiming that three former residents of Belarus are suspected of involvement in the deadly attacks in Brussels.

But one of the men named in the stories published by LifeNews and Sputnik said the reports are false -- saying, among other things, that he and the other men could not have been suicide bombers because they are still alive.

The reports are the latest example of "yellow journalism and nonsensical efforts of miserable journalists" to "get their next little star," Ivan Doubash told RFE/RL. He said Belgian authorities have told the men they were unaware of any accusations against them.

Doubash and his brother Alyaksey -- who go by the first names Suleiman and Khalid -- are named as suspects in the Brussels attack in a Sputnik story that cites an unidentified "high-level employee of the Belarusian law enforcement organs."

Live Blog: Brussels Attacks

Belarusian KGB spokesman Dzmitry Pabyarzhyn told RFE/RL that the security service is "aware of their existence," adding that their activities were being examined. The spokesman, however, refused to comment about whether they were suspects in the Brussels attacks.

'Third Man'

The reports name a third man, Marat Yunusov, who they say was born in Daghestan, in Russia's North Caucasus region, but later became a citizen of Belarus.

Belgian authorities have made no public mention of any possible Belarusian connection in the attacks.

LifeNews claimed that Russian intelligence officials told Belgian authorities that the three men were members of the extremist group Islamic State and were planning an attack, but did not indicate when that was done. It cited an unnamed source as saying the men traveled to Belgium in February.

Contacted by RFE/RL through a social-media account using the name Suleiman Doubash, Ivan Doubash said that he, his older brother, and Yunusov were all in Brussels.

The attacks in Brussels killed dozens and left scores more injured.
The attacks in Brussels killed dozens and left scores more injured.

Doubash complained about a growing number of Russian media reports on the three since LifeNews described them as potential "suicide attackers" in a March 14 story.

"The police didn't try to find us," he said. "Nobody even telephoned. Don't you find that strange? The information from the secret services was checked. It's not difficult for the police to ascertain whether we ever traveled to Syria or not."

"We've contacted the [Belgian security services] for an explanation," he continued. "They told us they know nothing [about the accusations] and they have nothing against us."

"What's most important," Doubash added, "is that if we are suicide attackers, why are we still alive? And if we're terrorists, why haven't we been arrested?"

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    RFE/RL's Belarus Service

    RFE/RL's Belarus Service is one of the leading providers of news and analysis to Belarusian audiences in their own language. It is a bulwark against pervasive Russian propaganda and defies the government’s virtual monopoly on domestic broadcast media.