On 26 November 2020, Alyaksandr Lukashenka delivered a speech at the Gomselmash factory. In his address to the factory workers, he mentioned the ongoing pro-democratic protests. Lukashenka asked people to wait and “not to escalate the situation with the murder of Raman Bandarenka”. He said that in less than a week people will get the truth. In the same speech at the Gomselmash factory, Lukashenka stated that Raman [who fell victim of the regime violence] was “under the influence of alcohol”, despite the fact that a medical document leaked on Belarusian Telegram channels proved that Raman was sober. After 6 days, state channel “STV” broadcast a video allegedly based on a journalists’ investigation into the murder of Raman Bandarenka.
Journalist and host of the show, Hryhory Azaronak started with a statement: “There is no more noble profession than a doctor. A person who knows the secrets of the body and knows how to use them […]. He conquers pain, he conquers death.” Subsequently, the camera shows the doctor who was arrested for leaking the document stating that Raman Bandarenka was sober at the moment of his death. In the video, the doctor admitted guilt, expressed his regret for leaking the medical document and said that he was under duress to publish the material. Azaronak undermined the authenticity of the leaked document and claimed that Raman Bandarenka was under the influence of alcohol at the time of his death.
The video of the doctor’s confession resembles many other confession videos recorded by the police during the 2020 Belarusian protests. Many detainees are forced by the regime to admit their guilt and apologize in front of the camera. Torture in the regime prisons in Belarus has been widely documented . The prisoners are subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment to force confessions and fabricated statements that are then used against them in the regime courts. The fate of the doctor is unknown, however, it is possible that a fake confession was forced by the police.
What happened to Raman Bandarenko after his arrest
After his death, a video resurfaced on social media proving that Raman was conscious during his arrest, therefore, he was most likely severely beaten in a police van or police station.
At 22 hours 14 minutes, a silver minibus left the “Square of Changes”. It takes 3 minutes to reach the nearest police department from there. However, instead of reaching the police department, Raman Bandarenka was abandoned unconscious somewhere in another area.Vadim Prokopyev
Later, after realizing what they had done, he was allegedly picked up by other policemen. Raman was delivered to Central police department at 22:54, he was already unconscious. The ambulance was called, and arrived in around 15 minutes. Bandarenka arrived at the hospital around midnight in a critical condition. The next day he died from severe head injuries.
The result of the investigation
The regime TV reported a confidential conversation between the wife of Raman and his mother, and another friend. The women spoke about the funeral ceremony, she stated: “for us (family – ed.) will be from 8.30AM and for everyone from 11:00AM. We are preparing a circus”. By referring to a part of Bandarenka’s wife quote, Azaronak concluded that Bandarenka’s wife accused the protesters of making a “circus” out of her husband’s funeral. In fact, Bandarenka’s wife later clarified that the regime TV has taken her words out of the context and she meant that the police was “making a circus”. She admitted that she was afraid that the police would come to disperse and arrest people during the funeral ceremony, therefore, make a “circus” out of the situation.
The sister of Raman gave an interview to Euroradio after the recording of the conversation of Bandarenka’s wife was leaked by the regime. She stated that the whole family was shocked that national TV was spying on them and published a private family conversation without their permission. Moreover, she stated that the family filed an criminal complaint to start a case in court against Azaronak and others who shared the private conversation.