Belarus refuses to investigate death of protester killed by law enforcement officers
The Belarusian Investigative Committee has refused to launch a criminal investigation into the death of 34-year-old Alexander Taraikovsky, the first demonstrator killed amid the opposition protests in Belarus that began in August 2020.
Alexander Taraikovsky (Alyaksandr Taraykouski) was Minsk resident who was killed on August 10, 2020 — the second day of protests following the presidential elections in Belarus. According to Belarusian police officials, Taraikovsky was killed by an explosive device that detonated in his hands (allegedly, he was trying to throw some kind of bomb at law enforcement officers). However, footage taken at the location of the demonstration shows that there was nothing in Taraikovsky’s hands and that he was apparently mortally wounded by the security forces.
The opposition initiative “Belarusian People’s Tribunal” conducted its own investigation and concluded that Taraikovsky was shot dead by Nikita Korovin, an officer in the Interior Ministry’s “Almaz” special forces group.
Describing the circumstances surrounding the protester’s death, Investigative Committee Chairman Ivan Noskevich told the state news agency Belta that Taraikovsky, “in a state of strong alcoholic intoxication,” walked away from the crowd of demonstrators and towards law enforcement officers. The officers perceived his actions as “a real threat to their life and health,” since they had been warned about possible terrorist attacks and protesters carrying explosives, Noskevich said.
As such, the security forces “from a safe distance excluding a lethal outcome,” used a non-lethal weapon against Taraikovsky. However, “due to a confluence of tragic circumstances, one of his wounds turned out to be penetrating.” Taraikovsky died of this injury on the scene.
Noskevich made no mention of previous statements from police officials claiming that Taraikovsky was killed by an explosive device that he allegedly planned to throw at law enforcement officers.
According to the investigation, in these conditions and in a similar situation law enforcement officers had the right to use non-lethal weapons to prevent more serious consequences, in accordance with current legislation.
In January 2021, By_Pol — an opposition organization made up of former Belarusian security officers — released an alleged recording of of Belarus’s Deputy Interior Minister Nikolay Karpenkov (Mikalay Karpyankou) stating that Alexander Taraikovsky “was killed by a rubber bullet that hit him in the chest.”