2009 16/09

Missing people in Belarus

10 years ago politician Viktar Hanchar and businessman Anatol Krasouski disappeared under mysterious circumstances in Minsk. Earlier, on 7 May 1999, the former Minister of Internal Affairs, Yury Zakharanka, disappeared. On 7 July 2000 the cameraman of ORT TV channel, Zmitser Zavadski, disappeared.

Viktar Hanchar. Vice-Speaker of the Supreme Council of XIII convocation. Disappeared or kidnapped on 16 September 1999, together with Anatol Krasousky.

Viktar Hanchar was born on 7 September 1958 in the village Rodzichava, Minsk region. During the presidential elections in 1994 he was one of the leaders of the election headquarters of Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Since 1994 Mr. Hanchar was the vice-chairman of the Belarusian government. Since 1990 he was a member of the Supreme Council of Belarus, since 1995 he was the vice-chairman of the Supreme Council of XIII legislature. On the eve of the referendum in 1996 he was a chairman of the Central Election Commission. Viktar Hanchar took an active part in the work of the Supreme Council during the constitutional crisis in 1996, he was one of the most active initiators of the impeachment process to Mr. Lukashenka. In May 1999, Viktar Hanchar organized a campaign to presidential elections, which was foiled by the authorities. In July 1999 he announced the end of the legitimate presidential term of Aliaksandr Lukashenka on the basis of non-recognition of legitimacy of the referendum held in 1996.

On 16 September 1999 Victar Hanchar together with his friend, businessman Anatol Krasouski, disappeared. Later at the place where, as expected, they were kidnapped, the fragments of glass of the car and blood were found. According to the words of the former head of detention center No. 1, Mr. Aleh Alkaeu, Viktar Hanchar was kidnapped and then shot by order of the people close to Aliaksandr Lukashenka.

Zmitser Zavadski. Belarusian journalist, cameraman. On 7 July 2000 he mysteriously disappeared on his way to Minsk airport. Since then his fate remains unknown.

Zmitser Zavadski was born on 28 August 1972. In 1994-1997 he was a personal cameraman of Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Since 1997 he worked as a cameraman of the Russian TV channel ORT, since November 1999 until May 2000 he worked in Chechnya. On 7 July 2000 he was kidnapped when he was driving the car to the airport “Minsk-2” to meet his colleague Paval Sharamet. The car was found at the airport, but no one saw Zmitser Zavadski since that time.

Zavadski’s disappearance comes together with the disappearances of prominent opposition politicians Viktar Hanchar and Yury Zakharanka, as the authorities have failed to give satisfactory explanations for the crime. On 14 March 2002 four people had been convicted on case of kidnapping of Zavadski. They are former employees of a special police department “Almaz”. In September 2002 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stated that “they concerned seriously about the lack of progress” and established its own investigative subcommittee to investigate the case of the missing people.

Yury Zakharanka. Former Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus, an opposition politician. Disappeared on 7 May 1999 under unknown circumstances.

Yury Zakharanka was born on 1 January 1952 in the village of Vasilevichy, Rechitsa region. At a time when Belarus gained independence, Mr. Zakharanka was a vice-chairman of inter-regional department for combating organized crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in USSR. On 28 July 1994 by the decree of the President Aliaksandr Lukashenka No. 11 he was appointed as a Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus. On 16 October 1995 Lukashenka’s decree No. 424 dismissed the Minister of Internal Affairs. On 16 April 1996 Mr. Zakharanka was demoted to colonel and was dismissed from the Ministry of Internal Affairs by Lukashenka’s decree No. 149.

Zakharanka joined the opposition and was elected to the leadership of the United Civil Party. He was abducted in the evening of 7 May 1999. According to political emigrant and former head of the detention center No. 1 Aleh Alkaeu, Yury Zakharanka was kidnapped and then shot by order of the people close to President Aliaksandr Lukashenka. Family of Yury Zakharanka – wife, two daughters and grandchildren – live in Germany, where they received a political asylum.

Anatol Krasouski. Belarusian businessman. On 16 September 16 along with Viktar Hanchar was kidnapped under unknown circumstances.

Anatol Krasouski was born on 17 May 17 in Krupki, Minsk region. He graduated from the Faculty of Physics of Belarusian State University. Teacher, PhD in Philosophy, author of dozens of scientific papers and several textbooks, developer of the school course “Ethics and psychology of family life.” In 1989 he created the JSC “Krasika”.

Since the early 1990’s he is a large businessman, a publisher of magazines “I + I”, “Ideal” and others. He was engaged in charity, has provided financial support to a number of public organizations in Belarus. He is married and has two daughters. Known as a friend of politician Viktar Hanchar, one of the leaders of the Belarusian opposition in late 1990’s.

He disappeared under mysterious circumstances on 16 September 1999 in Minsk together with Mr. Hanchar. In January 2003, the Minsk Prosecutor’s Office suspended the investigation of criminal case of the disappearance of Viktar Hanchar and Anatol Krasouski.

Source: Radio “Svaboda”

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