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Belarus: protester beaten to death

Raman Bandarenka, 31-year-old artist, severely beaten over protest ribbons

Attack similar to others by masked security forces in plain clothes 

‘The authorities in Belarus continue to rule by terror’ - Marie Struthers

Responding to the death of a peaceful protester - Raman Bandarenka - in Belarus last night after he was severely beaten by masked men then taken into police custody in Minsk, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, Marie Struthers, said: 

“The authorities in Belarus continue to rule by terror.

“They must immediately launch a prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigation into Raman Bandarenka’s killing.

“There is little if any doubt that he was beaten by security force officers, like hundreds of other peaceful protesters who have been attacked simply for raising their voices. 

“Instead of taking him to hospital, police arrested him and took him into custody. It is unclear what happened while he was in custody, but he died in hospital the next day.

“It is time to put an end to this reign of terror and unmask all those responsible for committing these crimes. If that does not happen, it means security forces under the command of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka continue to deploy the most horrific tactics of repression - merciless torture and even killings - against their own people.”

Artist beaten over protest ribbons

Raman Bandarenka, a 31-year-old artist and resident of Minsk, died in hospital on the evening of 12 November. According to media reports, unidentified masked men came to his neighborhood to remove protest flags and ribbons. They attacked him after a verbal confrontation and police then took him away in a van. Several hours later, Bandarenka was transferred to hospital with head injuries and a collapsed lung, where he died.

Minsk police spokeswoman Volha Chamadanava described the incident as a “fight”, adding that sometimes “concerned citizens are trying to restore order”. Over past months, the Belarusian authorities have unleashed gangs of masked men in plain clothes who attack peaceful protesters. They are widely believed - and are often confirmed - to be security officers. None have been officially identified or prosecuted. 


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