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Belarusian opposition journalist Bebenin's body found in noose – prosecutor

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Sept. 4, 2010, 6:06 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine
Minsk, September 4 (Interfax) - The prosecutor's office of the Dzerzhinsk district of the Minsk region is conducting an inquiry into the finding of Belarusian journalist Oleg Bebenin with a noose around his neck, Dzerzhinsk district prosecutor Sergei Kovrigin told Interfax on Saturday. "A conclusion on the causes of death of Oleg Bebenin, whose body was found in a noose at his dacha in the Dzerzhinsk district, will be ready in several hours," Kovrigin said.

"I am returning from an examination of the scene. No suicide note has been found," he said.

Alexander Danilchenko, a spokesman for the Minsk regional police department, gave Interfax some details of how Bebenin's body had been found.

Bebenin's body was hanging in a noose tied to a staircase leading to the upper floor of a dacha in the Dzerzhinsk district, the Minsk region, on September 3, 2010.

"A tumbled stool was lying nearby the body," Danilchenko said.

"A group of operatives and investigators from the Dzerzhinsk district police department and prosecution officials discovered two empty Belarusian Balsam [a strong alcoholic drink] bottles in the house," he said.

"No signs of fight or visible injuries were found on the body," he said.

"Bebenin went to the dacha in the Dzerzhinsk district on September 2 and did not respond to his wife's calls," Danilchenko said.

"Worried by this circumstance, she asked her sister to go to the dacha in the Dzerzhinsk district and find out what happened. Having arrived at there, her sister discovered a body hanging in a noose and called the police," he said.

It was reported earlier that Bebenin, the founder and administrator of the opposition Web publication charter97.org, had been found dead at his country house outside Minsk on Friday evening.

"We do not know why he died. An autopsy and an expert examination will show this," a charter97.org spokesperson said.

"The date of Bebenin's funeral is still unknown. The body has been sent for an autopsy," she said.

The criminal investigations department for Minsk told Interfax that it did not have information indicating that Bebenin's death could have been violent. "There have been no reports over the past 24 hours that a man with this name was found with signs of a violent death," it said.

"About twenty bodies without signs of a violent death are registered in the Minsk region daily. Expert examinations determine the causes of these deaths," it said.
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