U.S. Department of State
Press Statement by Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Belarus: First Anniversary of the
Sunday, May 7, marked the first anniversary of the unexplained disappearance of Belarusian opposition activist and former Interior Minister, General Yury Zakharenko. Gen. Zakharenko resigned from his position as Interior Minister in 1995 to protest the abuses of Aleksandr Lukashenko's dictatorial rule. After his resignation, Gen. Zakharenko founded the Belarusian Union of Officers and supported former Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Chigir's campaign in the opposition-organized presidential elections in May 1999. Gen. Zakharenko vanished while walking home on May 7, 1999, and has not been heard from since.
On September 16, 1999, Belarusian opposition leader Victor Gonchar and his associate Yury Krasovsky joined Gen. Zakharenko among the ranks of the disappeared. Shortly before his disappearance, Mr. Gonchar called his wife to say he would be home soon. He never arrived.
The United States again urges the Belarusian authorities to account for the disappeared and assures the Zakharenko, Gonchar and Krasovsky families that they and their loved ones are not forgotten.
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