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Mother says her son died in hospital after being arrested in Homyel, Belarus

Over 6,000 people have been detained in Belarus; many of them, including minors and women, were brutally beaten. Photo: Uladz Hrydzin (RFE/RL)
Mother says her son died in hospital after being arrested in Homyel, Belarus
25-year-old Alyaksandr Vikhor died in hospital in Homyel (Gomel), Belarus. On Sunday, August 9, Sasha was on his way to meet his girlfriend when he was arrested and thrown into a paddy wagon.

“Sasha was in one of their paddy wagons. He wasn’t at all involved in the protests; he was just going to meet his girlfriend. He was arrested somewhere in the centre of town while transferring to another vehicle. He texted me that he’d been detained… And that’s it. I’ve been looking for him ever since. I didn’t know what happened, where he was; nobody offered me help or information. Today, I was finally informed that Sasha was in the morgue,” said his mother.

Alyaksander’s mother says he had heart problems. She presumes that he started feeling ill in the closed airless paddy wagon, which was parked in a queue at the pre-trial detention centre.

She believes he shouted loudly, asking for help. The police thought he was slightly mad and took him to a psychiatric hospital, where doctors realized that he was seriously ill. He was taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital, but it was too late…

“I was told that he was in a state of clinical death when he arrived,” says Alyaksandr’s mother.

The police refused to let the mother see her son’s body. She believes that he was severely beaten.

Radio Svoboda appealed to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Gomel Oblast. The journalists were redirected to the press service of the Investigative Committee. Their calls have not been answered.

The Belarusian government has officially confirmed that one person was killed during the protests in Minsk, although no name has been given. According to official data, over 250 people with various injuries have been hospitalized, and over 6,000 people have been detained; many of them, including minors and women, were brutally beaten.

Protests have been ongoing for four days since the CEC announced the election results in Belarus. The OMON riot police have brutally dispersed protesters using water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas.

The EU has called on the Belarusian authorities to stop using violence against protesters and warned of possible sanctions.

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