Ukrainian activist found hanged in a forest

13. 6. 2018 - KHARKIV
Nikolai Bychko

Near Kharkov, Nikolai Bychko was found with a noose around his neck. Because of his previous involvement in public affairs, his death provoked uneasiness and upset among local citizens. Despite many allegations of murder, the Ukrainian police investigated the case and declared it a suicide.

The 23-year-old man was found on Tuesday, June 5 in the forest outside Eskhar village near Kharkiv. Immediately after the tragic discovery, and the amount of reproach from the local community struck responsible authorities. Bychko's death was no accident.

Among others, the young activist was an administrator of the "Initiative Youth of Eskhar" (Ініціативна молодь Есхар). Some of his concerns include the pollution of local bodies of water and corrupted officials. On May 16, he informed about ecological commissioning to identify possible violations in Eskhar.

Murder!, people claim
“Since the death of Nikolai Bychko is silenced in facebook groups controlled by the powerful and 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, explains on his Facebook post.

Whether the Ukrainian administration will be investigating the unfortunate event properly is not clear to the experts on the persecution of environmental activists.

"If Bychko's activities related to public affairs were the reason for his death, I'm afraid it is unlikely that we will 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), organizing rallies, and demanding resignation of responsible bodies.

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