A 31 year-old man who remonstrated with undercover law enforcement office removing protest ribbons died in hospital on Thursday.
Roman Bondarenko, who had served in the armed forces, was beaten, tied up and dragged to a car. When he was later hospitalised he was taken to the intensive care unit where doctors fought to save his life, in vain.
Local independent news outlet tut.by obtained and analysed four amateur eye-witness videos of the deadly confrontation, confirming the reports.
An official source told the media that Bondarenko had clashed with other neighbours who were taking down the protest ribbons. The source also claimed that the victim already already had physical injuries and had been drinking at the time of his arrest.
The death of the young artist has caused a wave of outrage in a country that’s become accustomed to large-scale and organised police brutality since the contested presidential poll of August 9. Following the news of Bondarenko’s killing here were large and spontaneous demonstrations in memory of the young man in the capital, Minsk, and in other towns and cities across the country.
Exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya deplored the death of an “innocent man.”
“There is nothing more inhuman than terror against one’s own people,” Tikhanovskaya said.
“We can honour his name with a minute of silence and chains of remembrance tomorrow at 12:00 in every district of every city. Let’s do it for the sake of a man who was killed because he wanted to live in a free country.”
Meanwhile in Brussels, a spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday: “Roman Bondarenko died … according to reports, by the brutality of plain-clothed policemen. This is an outrageous and shameful result of the actions by the Belarusian authorities who have not only directly and violently carried out repression of their own population, but also created an environment whereby such lawless, violent acts can take place.”
“The EU stands in solidarity with all the Belarusians who have suffered and continue to suffer at the hands of the Belarusian authorities. We expect the authorities to end the violence and persecution, to release immediately and unconditionally all arbitrarily detained persons, including political prisoners, and to investigate fully and transparently all human rights violations and abuses, and hold those responsible to account.”