Kyiv: A Belarusian activist living in exile in Ukraine was found hanged in a park near his home in Kyiv early on Tuesday, and Ukrainian police said they had launched a murder case.
Vitaly Shishov, who led a Kyiv-based organisation that helps Belarusians fleeing persecution, had been reported missing by his partner on Monday after failing to return home from a run.
Police said they had launched a criminal case for suspected murder, including investigating whether killers tried to disguise the crime as suicide.
Shishov had felt under constant surveillance since he left Belarus last year after taking part in anti-government protests, his colleagues said in a statement. He had been warned about possible threats, including being kidnapped or killed.
“Belarusian citizen Vitaly Shishov, who disappeared yesterday in Kyiv, was found hanged today in one of Kyiv’s parks, not far from his place of residence,” the police statement said.
Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania have become havens for Belarusians during a crackdown by President Alexander Lukashenko following a disputed election last year.
Shishov led the Belarusian House in Ukraine (BDU) group, which helps Belarusians find accommodation, jobs and legal advice, according to its website.