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Peter Presland
09-06-2010, 06:40 AM
Colleagues at opposition website Charter97 voice doubt that Oleg Bebenin could have taken his own life.

From Al Jazeera:

http://english.aljazeera.net/mritems/Images/2010/9/5/201095211920188734_20.jpg
Bebenin leaves behind a wife and two children [AFP]

The founder of a leading Belarus opposition website has been found dead from an apparent suicide, as colleagues voiced doubt that he could have taken his own life.
The body of Oleg Bebenin, the editor of the Charter97 website, was found on Friday at his weekend home outside Minsk, the capital.
"Bebenin's body was found hanged with a rope," Alexander Danilchenko, a police spokesman, was quoted as saying by the Ria Novosti news agency. "A kicked-over stool was lying nearby."
Speaking on Saturday, a spokesman for the general prosecutors' office, said: "Suicide is the primary lead on the cause of death.
"But prosecutors will work on those other leads which are usually explored after a body is found in a noose."
Bebenin's associates at Charter97, which has come under fierce state pressure in recent months, said they strongly doubted that he killed himself.
Natalya Radina, an employee at the website, said: "I have known Bebenin 14 years. He was full of plans. We had agreed to meet on Monday.
"He was in a great mood on the day of his death! I can't believe that he committed suicide."
Andrei Sannikov, for whom Bebenin had been acting as spokesman in his preparations to run for president in Belarus' elections next year, said he had shown no signs of depression and had left no suicide note.
"I was at the site of the tragedy and I don't believe Oleg Bebenin committed suicide," Sannikov said.
"It is odd that the interior ministry should speak of suicide before waiting for the autopsy results.
"Many aspects cast serious doubts: no suicide note was found and the last text messages he sent friends showed that he had plans to go to the cinema on Thursday night."
Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the opposition United Civic Party, said investigators needed "in the first place to verify whether the death of the journalist was linked to his professional activities".
Website raided
Bebenin leaves behind a wife and two children. His relatives refused to comment on his death.
Most independent newspapers in Belarus have closed down and there are no independent television or radio stations, making the internet a key source of information under the country's authoritarian regime.
The Charter97.org website, which is critical of the government of Alexander Lukashenko, the president, has been a rallying point for Belarus' opposition and at the centre of recent government crackdowns on independent media outlets.
Police in March raided the website's offices, seizing computers and slapping Radina in the face during an investigation into the publication of material about the Belorussian security services, the former KGB.
Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet republic of 10 million people since 1994, was once dubbed Europe's last dictator by the United States but has now made attempts at greater openness.
In 2003, Veronika Cherkasova, an investigative journalist who had reported on arms sales by Belarus to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, was stabbed to death in her home.
An investigation into the attack failed to find a link with her work. In 2000, a former cameraman for Lukashenko disappeared while working for Russian channel ORT. His body was found in 2003.

Myra Bronstein
09-06-2010, 07:56 AM
Brave man. He certainly paid a high price.

Dawn Meredith
09-06-2010, 03:29 PM
The world is becoming increasingly more dangerous for those brave souls who expose truth. The message is clear.

Dawn

Phil Dragoo
09-06-2010, 11:07 PM
Belarusian opposition journalist’s death not suicide – colleague

http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-09-04/belarus-opposition-journalist-suicide.html

From Belarus With Malice--"in power since 1994"--time for Mr. Plastic Nose-With-Attached-Moustache to do a Ceausescu.

Myra Bronstein
09-07-2010, 02:14 AM
Belarusian opposition journalist’s death not suicide – colleague

http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-09-04/belarus-opposition-journalist-suicide.html

From Belarus With Malice--"in power since 1994"--time for Mr. Plastic Nose-With-Attached-Moustache to do a Ceausescu.

Thanks for the link Phil.
Here's the text from it:

"Belarusian opposition journalist’s death not suicide – colleague
Published 04 September, 2010, 17:21
Edited 06 September, 2010, 16:59

In Belarus, the founder of an opposition internet site has been found dead in his residence outside the country’s capital Minsk. Although prosecutors cite suicide, his colleagues are not convinced.

Oleg Bebenin, who was missing since Thursday, was found in a noose and no suicide note has been found. Nevertheless, the Belarusian prosecution has cited suicide as the reason for his death.
“The autopsy has just been completed,” Sergey Kovrigin, prosecutor of Dzerzhinsk region of Minsk area, was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying. “An examination confirmed the version of suicide.”

Kovrigin pointed out that the autopsy showed no body injuries except for a characteristic mark on Bebenin’s neck.

Minsk police press service chief Aleksandr Danilchenko told RIA Novosti news agency earlier that Bebenin’s body was found at his dacha in the Dzerzhinsk region in a noose.

“The body was hanging in a hand made noose, attached to a staircase leading to the second floor. There was an overturned stool nearby,” Danilchenko said.

There were no signs of violence or damage found, he added. Neighbors said that they had not seen anybody visiting the man on the eve of his death.
However, Oleg Bebenin’s colleague and friend Andrey Sannikov said that he does not believe that Bebenin committed suicide.

“I do not believe the official version. There was no suicide note, nothing suggested that he was heading in that direction,” he said. “He was a very active man full of plans. He is a prominent opposition journalist so he cannot be safe anywhere.”

“In the past he was threatened, assaulted and abducted. These are the realities of our lives. I do not exclude that authorities or special services could be implicated in this,” Sannikov added.

Anton Bespalov, political analyst from Voice of Russia radio station, thinks the Belarusian authorities' relations with the independent media have long been fraught.

“Actually after Mr. Lukashenko came to power there has been a number of strange, mysterious deaths and disappearances of opposition journalists and politicians. So, there is a version that Belarusian secret services might stand behind it – of course, we have no confirmation,” he said.

Watch the full interview with Anton Bespalov (http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-09-04/belarus-opposition-journalist-suicide.html?fullstory)

Former Member of the European Parliament Guillleto Chiesa told RT that the evidence so far suggests Bebenin did not take his own life.

“I believe this terrible situation is more similar to a killing than to a suicide. Even if we do not have sufficient information on this point, it is clear that it is a very serious blow and the result will be a very serious problem for the government of Belarus and president Lukashenko in the first place,” evaluated Chiesa. “Evidently, now there will be a very harsh reaction, justified to a certain extent and in any case understandable. Taking into account that the victim was [of the opposition] and one of the main duties of the government was to protect him – and this has not been done,” he added.

Watch video with Guillleto Chiesa (http://rt.com/Top_News/2010-09-04/belarus-opposition-journalist-suicide.html?fullstory)

Journalist Oleg Bebenin set up his opposition website charter97.org back in 1998. He is survived by his wife and two sons"

Peter Presland
09-11-2010, 07:08 AM
More from an 'Index on Censorship' colleague of Oleg Bebenin. Note that that pompous prick "Sting" - not content with bolstering the likes of 'boil 'em alive' Islam Karimov whilst consorting with his daughter, has now latched on to Belarus's Lukashenko.

This from Therearenosunglasses: (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/belarus-last-outpost-for-ussr/)

I landed in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, last Friday to meet the journalist Oleg Bebenin and other civil society activists. On Monday I attended Oleg’s funeral.
One of Belarus’s leading journalists, he had been found hanged in his country home earlier on Friday. His beloved 5 year old son’s hammock was around his neck, hung so low that his feet touched the ground. Andrei Sannikov, of the human rights group Charter97, the organisation Bebenin co-founded, was one of the first at the scene. He has grave doubts about the coroner’s suicide verdict. “No suicide note was found, and his last SMS to friends showed they planned to go to the cinema.”
Bebenin’s associates suspect foul play and talk through tears about a man who devoted 15 years to fighting President Aleksander Lukashenko’s dictatorship, and was in no mood to quit. In hushed tones everyone fears a return to the period between 1997–99 when activists, business and journalists suddenly “disappeared” without trace.
In the past year, human rights activists have faced continual intimidation from the authorities. On 6 December 2009, Yahen Afnagel, a youth leader, was kidnapped in broad daylight on the streets of Minsk and taken by van to a forest just outside the city. His hands were bound together and a bag placed over his head. He told me he was subjected to a mock execution and that men screamed at him that it would be carried out for real if he continued to question the authorities. In just two months, 6 youth leaders faced mock executions.
All of this is happening, today, on European soil. When the Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visited Minsk last November he told President Lukashenko that his people “love you, which is shown by the elections”.
Never mind that the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OSCE), of which Italy is a member, declared that the previous presidential election” failed to meet OSCE commitments for democratic elections.”
Realpolitik is the order of the day, and the opening up of markets by the IMF and the World Bank are paying dividends for businessmen and their political cronies in capitals across Europe. Britain is no better. Lukashenko is said to be “in discussions” with Grayling, a PR firm owned by Lord Chadlington, one of David Cameron’s closest allies on improving his country’s image. Lord Chadlington clearly has few qualms dealing with the dictator of a nation ranked 188 out of 195 countries for press freedom; where every gay club has been shut down, and where Lukashenko has personally approved the turning of Jewish holy sites into multi-storey car parks.
Culturally, too, Western artists are helping to soften the image of Belarus. This month Sting will perform a concert in the Minsk Arena. While Sting performs, the banned Belarus Free Theatre will perform “Discover Love” in an abandoned house on the other side of Minsk, their play about the abduction and disappearance of businessman, democrat, and foe of Lukashenko, Anatoly Krasovski. Unlike the audience at the approved Sting concert, those attending performances of the Belarus Free Theatre are subject to harassment by the KGB.
And while Europe ignores the plight of the Belarussian people, the dictatorship is intensifying its efforts to stifle dissent. The KGB and intelligence forces are developing more subtle ways to target opponents. Opposition figures are accused of being Scientologists or threatened with criminal libel proceedings. Yesterday an anonymous comment on the Charter97 website read: “We will wipe all of you off the face of the earth. None of your relatives will ever produce the like of you again.” The site’s moderator, Natalia Radzina has recently received emails and text messages that say: “We will rape you,” followed by her address.
The case of Oleg Bebenin should ring alarm bells across Europe. We cannot let Europe’s politicians sleep walk into a cosy accommodation with a tyrant. Belarus is Europe’s shame.

Paul Rigby
09-11-2010, 08:27 PM
This from Therearenosunglasses: (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/belarus-last-outpost-for-ussr/)

This month Sting will perform a concert in the Minsk Arena.[/B] While Sting performs, the banned Belarus Free Theatre will perform “Discover Love” in an abandoned house on the other side of Minsk, their play about the abduction and disappearance of businessman, democrat, and foe of Lukashenko, Anatoly Krasovski. Unlike the audience at the approved Sting concert, those attending performances of the Belarus Free Theatre are subject to harassment by the KGB.

And presumably also subject to a bung or three from Soros, CIA and MI6, which is terribly found of dissident theatre, except, alas, in Britain.


And while Europe ignores the plight of the Belarussian people, the dictatorship is intensifying its efforts to stifle dissent. The KGB and intelligence forces are developing more subtle ways to target opponents. Opposition figures are accused of being Scientologists or threatened with criminal libel proceedings.

So unlike Germany or France, both of which are famously Scientology-friendly. And with good reason, of course, given the links with CIA.


The case of Oleg Bebenin should ring alarm bells across Europe. We cannot let Europe’s politicians sleep walk into a cosy accommodation with a tyrant. Belarus is Europe’s shame.

They walked only too consciously into mass murder in Iraq and Afghanistan, so why exactly should we expect Europe's pols to do any differently...anywhere?

Therearenosunglasses is full of the most frightful crap.