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A missing Belarusian activist who ran a group in Ukraine helping Belarusians fleeing persecution has been found hanged in a park in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, police said on Tuesday, adding they had opened a murder probe.
Local police said on Tuesday that Vitaly Shishov, leader of the Kiev-based Belarusian House in Ukraine, was found hanged in one of the city's parks not far from his home, police said in a statement.
Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko has been cracking down on any form of dissent since mass protests erupted after last year's elections, deemed unfair by the West.
Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenko attends a meeting.
Many Belarusians have fled, often to neighbouring Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania.
"There is no doubt that this is an operation planned by Chekists to liquidate a Belarusian who presented a true danger to the regime," the NGO said in a statement, referring to security service agents.
The activist went jogging in Kiev on Monday morning but did not return and could not be reached on his mobile phone.
Shishov moved to pro-Western Ukraine in the autumn of 2020, after joining anti-government protests in Belarus, and helped establish the Belarusian House in Ukraine.
The Belarusian authorities have characterised anti-government protesters as criminals or violent revolutionaries backed by the West, and described the actions of law enforcement agencies as adequate and necessary.
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