No charges to be brought against prison staff for Belgorod activist’s death in detention — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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No charges to be brought against prison staff for Belgorod activist’s death in detention

The Investigative Committee in southwestern Russia’s Belgorod region has decided not to press charges against any prison staff following the death in April of activist Alexander Demidenko while in pretrial detention, local TV station Fonar reported on Tuesday.

Alexander Demidenko. Photo: social media

Alexander Demidenko. Photo: social media

Demidenko committed suicide on 5 April, according to prison staff. His son, Oleg, told independent news outlet Vot Tak that he also believed that suicide had been the likely cause of his father’s death. The Investigative Committee said that it could find no evidence of a crime having been committed.

Demidenko helped Ukrainian refugees get from Belgorod, in southwestern Russia, to the only open border crossing with Ukraine at Kolotilovka and also hosted refugees who had been displaced from Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine.

Demidenko was detained by law enforcement officers for “being drunk in public” while accompanying an elderly woman with cancer to the border on 18 October and was remanded in custody for 10 days, BBC News Russian reported.

Alexander Demidenko. Photo:  Mozhem obyasnit

Alexander Demidenko. Photo: Mozhem obyasnit

Law enforcement officers took Demidenko home briefly on 20 October where they conducted a search of his apartment and claimed to have found a grenade and two detonators. He was subsequently charged with arms trafficking.

Demidenko was released on 31 October but was detained again the next day and remanded in custody for a further 30 days. He then remained in detention until his death.

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