Ukrainian activist found hanged in a forest

13. 6. 2018 - KHARKIV
Nikolai Bychko

Near Kharkov, a body of young activist Nikolai Bychko was found with a noose around his neck. Towards his previous involvement in public affairs, the death rose uneasiness and upset among local citizens. Dispute many allegations of murder, the Ukrainian police investigate the case as a suicide.

The 23-year-old man was found on Tuesday, June 5 in a forest outside Eskhar village near Kharkiv. Immediately after the tragic discovery, a vast amount of reproach from the local community stroke responsible authorities. According to them, Bychko’s death was no unfortunate accident.

Among others, the young activist was an administrator of the "Initiative Youth of Eskhar" (Ініціативна молодь Есхар) group commenting the development and life in the village. One of his concern was the pollution of local water bodies and corrupted officials. On May 16, he informed of an ecological commission coming to identify possible violations in Eskhar.

Murder!, people claim
“Since the death of Nikolai Bychko is being silenced in facebook groups controlled by the powerful and the oligarchs - I believe we are on the right track. (...) We have only one goal - to find the culprit of Nikolai’s murder,” Roman Likhachov, local human rights defender expressed clearly his opinion via a Facebook post.

Whether the Ukrainian administration will investigate the unfortunate event properly is not so clear according to experts on the persecution of environmental activists.

“If Bychko’s activities related to public matters were the reason of his death, I’m afraid it is unlikely that we’d ever found out the real circumstances of his unfortunate fate,” explains Martin Skalsky from Czech non-governmental organization Arnika, operating in Ukraine.

People from the community keep posting new information on social media ("Eskhar" and "Chuhuiv info" facebook groups), organize rallies and demand resignation of responsible bodies.

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