Friday May 20, 2022

Belarus opposition activist dies in prison

May 23, 2021

Minsk: A Belarusian political activist has died in jail where he was serving time for participating in the demonstrations that rocked the ex-Soviet country last year after a disputed presidential election, local media reported.

Vitold Ashurok, 50, died from cardiac arrest in a penal colony in eastern Belarus, the Nasha Niva news website reported on Friday.

A friend of Ashurok, Sergei Pantus, confirmed his death to Belarusian outlet Onliner.

"The prison called his wife and said that his heart had stopped and that there would be an investigation," Pantus was quoted as saying.

Ashurok was a member of the Belarusian Popular Front opposition party and a coordinator of the "For Freedom" movement.

In January, he was sentenced to five years in a penal colony for "grossly" violating public order and for violence against a member of police. The trial was held behind closed doors.