ISHR’S CLARIFICATION AND ASSISTANCE TO SHUTOV’S FAMILY
Gennady Shutov, 44, was one of the thousands of participants in a demonstration against the Lukashenko regime that took place on 11 August 2020 in the Belarusian university city of Brest on the border with Poland. According to his daughter Anastasia, he called in the evening to say that he was returning home. Two days later, the newspaper reported that the father of five children had been shot and killed by a police officer. According to the police report, the police officers detained Gennady Shutov. He was armed with a metal pipe and tried to take away guns from the officers. One police officer felt threatened and targeted Gennady in the shoulder, but as a result of Shutov’s resistance the shot came to his head. A witness reported that she heard three shots and saw a man lying in blood from the balcony. She clearly saw that he had been shot in the back of the head and that a man in civilian clothes was moving away from him. The police called an ambulance, but then people started filming Shutov lying on the ground. The shooter then pulled out the gun and pointed it at the photographers to scare them away.
“Our family applied to the police, to the investigation committee and to the prosecutor – the last official response from the prosecutor’s office was that there were no grounds for a criminal case to be opened for murder. It is alleged that a soldier from Minsk claimed responsibility for the murder. But in Belarus you can no longer count on true information,” said Anastasia.
The ISHR section in Brest questions the statements made by police officers, as Shutov was not alone that evening. His friend Alexander Kordyukov was arrested along with him, but he – as the section explains – was unconscious. Alexander Kordyukov has been in prison for over a month and, according to the ISHR section, he will be held there until police witnesses speak on behalf of his friend in court, after which it is unlikely that a criminal case will be brought against the police officer for murder. According to the ISHR section, Kordyukov faces 15 to 25 years in prison.
«The arbitrary detention of demonstrators is carried out in accordance with the law, according to which Belarusians are prohibited from entering the square and holding meetings without the permission of the authorities. Although this right is enshrined in the Constitution, it is practically impossible to exercise it in practice: Submitting a request for a demonstration or rally to the authorities is linked to the prior provision of receipts for various services provided by the police, rubbish collection or ambulances. However, 99% of such applications are rejected,” said a member of the Belarusian section of the ISHR during a telephone conversation with a member of the German section of the ISHR (Frankfurt am Main).
ISHR was able to support support Shutov’s family. The Section also maintains contact with other families which need help, as their breadwinners are in indefinite detention. This is a small sum of 200–300 Euros, which is a kind of support for families in need. But the number of people in need of such help is growing inexorably. We are preparing for the possibility that we may have to provide such assistance over the next few months. Please, we need your support.
Password for your donations: Assistance to families in Belarus (37)
Photos: personal archive of the Shutovs
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