On December 31, 2021, at about 23.00, police detained a resident of Rechitsa, Dmitry Uskhopov, who was standing with a friend at a public transport stop and was going to go to celebrate the New Year with his mother. First, he got taken to the police department and then to the district hospital for examination in a coma. The young man got urgently taken to the emergency room, where they began to carry out resuscitation measures. Despite the efforts of doctors, on January 1, 2022, at 1.20, his death was pronounced.

Dmitry became the first victim of the regime in 2022. The bloody countdown started directly on New Year Eve. Dmitry’s relatives are sure he got beaten. The clothes were completely wet, T-shirt was torn, and bruises and abrasions were on the body, a wound on the temple. The police immediately tried to put pressure on his mother. They threatened to search her house.

The version of the authorities, as usual, does not differ in fantasy: the man became ill on the road, and he died. It is also alleged that Dmitry Uskhopov was detained «with signs of severe alcoholic intoxication», and «physical force was used against him because of his disobedience».

Furthermore, the Investigative Committee stated that Dmitry Uskhopov, who died after being detained by police officers, was in a state of not only alcoholic but also narcotic intoxication. According to the agency, 4.3 ppm of alcohol was in his blood. Also, the analysis showed drugs in his urine and a bag of marijuana in his belongings. And when examining his mobile phone, they found correspondence with an online drug store. Does this justify murder? Not. The sole purpose of the so-called law enforcement agencies was to present Dmitry as a malicious drug addict who «needs it». But is it worth saying that at the moment, not only Belarus does not believe in such versions of the investigative committee?

But even after Dmitry became a rowdy and a drug addict, the «authorities» did not calm down. Why? Because there were too many witnesses of an unscrupulous violation of the law. Including murder.

After the death of Dmitry Uskhopov, the police began a «hunt» for his friends. Dmitry’s mother’s house got constantly monitored. On January 3, 2022, the police detained the friends of the deceased Alexey and Anna Davydkov, Alexander Snobkov and Ilya Brokorenko, allegedly for drugs. They were supposed to come to the funeral, but they stopped communicating in the morning. After some time, Uskhopov’s relatives found out they had been detained. According to the IC, operational drug control measures are carried out by Article 328 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus (Illegal trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, their precursors and analogues). According to pro-government media, large stocks of a plant substance that looks like marijuana were found and seized for analysis. It gets found in bags, cans and other containers. The place of withdrawal is not disclosed. Further investigative actions are being carried out.

«During authorized searches in the garage and at the flat of 27-year-old and 28-year-old citizens, we found about a kilogram of marijuana. The finished drug got stored in bags and various containers», Vitaly Pristromov, the official representative of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Gomel Regional Executive Committee, said. As you can see, we already know at least one surname of someone who is directly related to the criminal acts committed against Uskhopov’s friends and acquaintances.

It is worth noting that a criminal case has been initiated under the article on illegal drug trafficking (part 1 of Article 328 of the Criminal Code). That is, no one is engaged in a real crime — murder — and is not going to investigate it. They are trying to shift our attention to drugs. The attempt failed.

Alexander Zhogal, the last of his friends and relatives who saw Dmitry alive, was an eyewitness to his detention and with whom Dmitry was at a public transport stop, was forced to flee abroad. And Dmitry Uskhopov’s relatives left the country on January 5, 2022.

So, now, we have not one but several victims at once. Everyone understands perfectly well what awaits Dmitry’s detained friends!

ICCI «Our House» has been conducting a campaign for several years to help citizens, especially teenagers who are undergoing or have already been convicted under Article 328. All these years, we have said that this article is occasionally political. Police use it to pressure people who directly oppose the government, their relatives and friends. Dmitry Uskhopov became another victim of the bloody regime. The authorities blamed everyone who knew the truth under Article 328 to justify the murder.

So isn’t it time for human rights organizations to review the list of articles used by the dictatorial regime precisely as political? Of course, people guilty of these crimes are also accused under these articles. But there are already enough cases – examples of how the illegitimate government conducts well-thought-out repressions against citizens who have the courage, at least, not to be silent. And how the laws in Belarus are used only for the benefit of one person.

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