A Polish Army deserter who fled to Belarus and often made critical public statements about Poland’s conservative government has been found dead in Minsk.
Former 26-year-old soldier, Emil Czeczko, had abandoned his post near the Polish border in December 2021 before crossing the border into Belarus where he claimed asylum.
The deserter later gave an interview for Belarusian-state television in which he spoke about the alleged murder of migrants and volunteers by Polish Border Guard officers and soldiers.
Independent Belarusian journalist Tadeusz Giczan was the first to report on Czeczko’s death.
Giczan’s information was corroborated by Belarusian authorities who revealed an investigation was ongoing and evidence was being obtained. The former soldier was found hanged in his flat in Minsk.
In December 2021, the Białystok prosecutor’s office put out an international arrest warrant on the deserter. Investigators declared that Czeczko should answer for desertion for which he could have served up to 10 years in prison. An investigation was also carried out concerning whether Czeczko had cooperated with foreign intelligence against his own country during Belarus’s hybrid attack against Poland.
Czeczko initially disappeared on Dec. 16 and was already known for causing trouble. His superiors had been aware of the issues but waited for Czeczko to leave service of his own volition, since he only had a few days remaining.
Tadeusz Giczan, who informed about Czeczko’s death, is the journalist who had revealed information about Belarus’s “floodgate” operation which involved Belarusian authorities bringing in Middle Eastern migrants and forcing them to storm the Polish-Belarusian border.