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Print out date: 13.12.2019 04:47
08.08.2018 19:49 Photos

In pictures: Trial begins for three former sergeants accused in case of Private Korzhych’s death

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(BelaPAN Photo/Syarhey Balay)
The case of Private Alyaksandr Korzhych’s death started to be heard by the Minsk Regional Court on Wednesday.
Three former sergeants – Yawhen Baranowski, Anton Vyazhevich and Yahor Skuratovich – are accused in the case. They allegedly drove the conscript soldier to suicide by bullying.
The three accused are facing charges of theft, bribery and abuse of power.
Alyaksandr Korzhych, a 21-year-old native of Pinsk, Brest region, was found hanged on the grounds of the Belarusian Armed Forces’ 72nd United Training Center in Pechy near Barysaw, Minsk region, on October 3, 2017.
Authorities initially said that a preliminary inquiry found no signs of foul play and yielded evidence suggesting that the soldier committed suicide, but the recruit’s family and friends insisted that he was murdered. They said that he had repeatedly complained before his death about bullying, and that large bruises were seen on his body when it was being prepared for funeral.
After the death of the soldier caused a strong emotional reaction on social media, authorities announced that the case would be thoroughly investigated.
Alyaksandr Korzhych, who was called up for military service in the spring of 2017, was one of the recruits trained at the 72nd United Training Center’s Military Unit No. 43064, a school that trains tank and artillery personnel.
On September 17, Private Korzhych was admitted to the training center’s medical unit with acute respiratory tract infection and was discharged from the unit on September 26.
On October 3, the soldier was found hanged with a cloth belt, with an undershirt pulled over his head and his feet tied together with shoe strings in the basement of the medical unit.
The Investigative Committee had three theories regarding the death of the soldier, including driving to suicide by hazing and violence, murder and suicide.
Investigators have concluded that Private Korzhych was driven to suicide by three conscript sergeants of the same unit, Aleh Shandarovich, head of the Investigative Committee’s Main Investigative Directorate, told reporters in April.
The three suspects used violence against Private Korzhych and other soldiers, forced them to buy cigarettes and food, and ordered them to pay for the use of mobile phones, Mr. Shandarovich said.
One of the sergeants ordered Private Korzhych to pay him for not being beaten and for being allowed to receive treatment at the medical unit, he said.
A total of 57 soldiers have been recognized as victims in the case, Mr. Shandarovich noted.
According to him, Private Korzhych was really found hanged with an undershirt pulled over his head and his feet tied together with shoe strings, but an investigative experiment proved that it was possible to commit suicide this way.




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