Missing Belarusian activist found dead in Kiev, as police investigate ‘murder disguised as suicide’

World

A Belarusian activist who was reported missing has been found dead in a park in Kiev, Ukrainian police have said.

Vitaly Shishov led Kiev-based non-profit organisation Belarusian House (BDU) that helps Belarusians fleeing persecution.

He was reported missing by his partner on Monday after not returning home from a run.

Police have launched a criminal case for suspected murder but said in a statement they will be investigating all possibilities, including murder disguised as suicide.

Many Belarusians have fled the country after dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s government launched a violent crackdown, with many leaving for Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania in particular to escape persecution.

Belarusian journalist Taduesz Gizcan said in a tweet that police traced Mr Shishov’s phone during the search for him “to no avail” and that his friends said he has been followed recently.

BDU helps Belarusians find accommodation, jobs and legal advice, its website says.

In a separate statement, the organisation said it was not able to contact Mr Shishov.

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