Bebenin death stirs controversy

Now a much talked about development in Belarus.Back on Friday, the operator and editor of the 'Hartia-97' opposition website 36-year-old Oleg Bebenin was found hanged in his country house outside Minsk. The authorities were quick to report suicide.

Bebenin's political ally Andrei Sannikov has his doubts. He calls attention to hasty and inconclusive forensics, the absence of a suicide note and optimistic SMS messages from Bebenin's mobile Thursday about plans to go to the movies. He also says Bebenin had received threats, suffered attacks and faced official attempts to bring criminal charges against him.President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek urges the Belarusian authorities to revisit the Bebenin case and investigate it to the full.

The Russian post-Soviet affairs analyst Professor Alexei Vlasov sounds a note of pessimism over this:Both Russia and the EU continue to signal concern over democracy in Belarus. Unfortunately, their pronouncements on the matter fall on death ears in Minsk. President Lukashenko won't budge. The only thing he appears to care for is domestic elections. His country meantime is losing contacts on all sides and finding itself in ever deepening isolation.


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