Minsk City Court has dismissed the cassation appeal of Ullyana Zakharanka, the mother of former Interior Minister Yury Zakharanka, who was kidnapped by unidentified individuals on 7 May, 1999. His whereabouts is still unknown.
Not long ago judge Volha Birulya refused to recognise Mr Zakharanka as dead.
After the verdict activists held an action of solidarity in front of the court building. Minsk police drew up at least five administrative protocols on thr picketers for ‘participating in an unsanctioned rally’.
According to Raisa Mikhailovskaya, a representative of the Belarusian Documentary Center, they just tried to reach the judge’s heart with the help of the action ‘Mom Remembers’.
“Here is the legal vacuum: the person is neither dead not alive. There should be at least some kind of declaration of death. [Due to the lack of it] the mother’s rights are abandoned: she has no right to social rehabilitation and pension,” she told belsat.eu.
General Zakharanka, who was 47 when he went missing, was Alyaksandr Lukashenka‘s Interior Minister in 1994-95 but joined the opposition after being dismissed for allegedly misusing public funds. He became known for his effort to found an organization of police and army officers.
In February 1998, he headed the opposition committee on security. In 1999, the former Interior Minister took an active part in the presidential campaign, became a member of the team of former Prime Minister Mikhail Chyhir, organized groups to collect signatures, met with voters.
On the evening of May 7, 1999 Zakharanka disappeared on his way home, near Mahiliouskaya street in Minsk. The investigation into the disappearance of Lukashenka’s strong rival is under the control of the UN Committee on Human Rights.
In 1999-2000, the activity of the so-called death squad allegedly resulted in abductions of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s other opponents – politician Viktar Hanchar, businessman Anatol Krasouski.