The experts assigned by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to look into the investigation of the death of journalist Aleh Byabenin are expected to arrive in Minsk on October 26, a Belarusian law-enforcement official told BelaPAN on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Andrey Savinykh, spokesman for the Belarusian foreign ministry, said last week that the experts would arrive in Belarus on October 25. Earlier reports had it that the OSCE experts would be a Norwegian morbid anatomist and a Swedish criminalist.
According to the Minsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office, translators, hired by the OSCE, have already translated the main body of the case file into English for the OSCE experts.
The Minsk regional prosecutor has recently extended the investigation until November 3.
As of now, only a part of the ordered comprehensive examination of the body of the journalist has been completed, Tatsyana Kalinina, senior aide to the regional prosecutor, told BelaPAN on October 5.
The 36-year-old Byabenin, one of the prominent figures of an opposition group called Khartyya-97 (Charter’97) and the founder and director of the news website charter97.org, was found hanged in his summer house near Minsk on September 3. Police have said that the journalist committed suicide, but his associates insist that he had no reason to kill himself.
A statement of Belarus’ consent to foreign experts’ participation in the investigation of the death was made at a plenary meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on September 9. "The Belarusian government does not plan to set any requirements and conditions for such experts other than high criminalistic skills and experience," Mr. Savinykh told BelaPAN the following day.