The Minsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office will refuse to institute criminal proceedings in connection with the death of journalist Aleh Byabenin, Tatsyana Kalinina, senior aide to the Minsk regional prosecutor, told BelaPAN on Wednesday.
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 on September 3 in his summer house in the village of Pyarkhurava in the Dzyarzhynsk district near Minsk.
Police have said that the journalist committed suicide, but his associates insist that he had no reason to kill himself. No suicide note was found.
Aleh Byabenin, who was meant to be one of the key members of opposition presidential contender Andrey Sannikaw’s campaign team, was survived by his wife and two sons.
The prosecutor’s office twice extended its investigation into the circumstances of the death, the last time until December 3.
Two OSCE experts who stayed in Belarus between October 25 and October 29 to look into the investigation concluded that the journalist committed suicide. It is useless to expect the death to be investigated thoroughly and impartially while Alyaksandr Lukashenka is in power, Mr. Sannikaw commented to BelaPAN on Wednesday.
"The Belarusian authorities have turned Byabenin’s death into a political game with Europe," Mr. Sannikaw said. "They simply used the OSCE experts. Neither Belarusian investigators nor the OSCE experts have dispelled our doubts about the suicide theory. On the contrary, they have only strengthened our suspicion that he was killed."