Polish Soldier Who Sought Asylum In Belarus Found Dead In Minsk

Emil Czeczko

MINSK -- A Polish Army deserter who sought asylum in Belarus, where he often appeared in the media making critical statements about the government in Warsaw, has been found dead in Minsk.

The Investigative Committee of Belarus said on March 17 that Emil Czeczko was found hanged in his apartment in the Belarusian capital, adding that they were looking into several motives, including suicide or murder.

Belarusian authorities said in mid-December that the 25-year-old Polish soldier defected and asked for political asylum in the wake of the crisis along the Polish-Belarusian border when tens of thousands of illegal migrants, mostly from the Middle East, tried to force their way into the European Union.

Czeczko had been shown on Belarusian state television several times since then, criticizing the Polish government and saying that Polish border guards had shot dead hundreds of migrants, a claim that has never been proven or confirmed either by Polish officials or international experts.

The EU accused the regime of Belarusian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka of funneling the migrants to the borders of Poland and fellow EU members Latvia and Lithuania as part of a “hybrid attack” to retaliate for Western sanctions.

On March 16, he was seen in an online video stream where he claimed that there were "Polish fascists" fighting in Ukraine against the Russian military.

Czeczko was wanted in Poland on a charge of desertion.