Mysterious death of protester who threw poo outside office of Putin ally

The protestor who threw poo outside the offices of an ally to Russian president Vladimir Putin has been found dead in mysterious circumstances.

Belarusian artist Ales Pushkin, 57, died in Belarus while serving a five-year sentence, his wife and human rights activists have claimed.

But it appears the cause of his death is shrouded in mystery, with the Viasna human rights centre saying he was not sick or suffering from any medical troubles at the time of death.

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His wife, Janina Demuch, claims he died in an intensive care unit in the prison, with the infamous activist who dumped faeces outside of Alexander Lukashenko's office in 1999 dead at 57.

Belarusian authorities did not comment on the death of the cartoonist and political performer, who often targeted Putin's pal Lukashenko.

Pushkin had been sentenced to two years behind bars for his 1999 stunt which saw a trolley filled with faeces dumped outside the Minsk-based presidential offices of Putin's only European ally.

More recently, Pushkin was arrested in March 2021 and sentenced to five years in prison for inciting hatred and desecration of state symbols, The Sun reported.

The 57-year-old had found himself in hot water after allegedly painting a Belarusian nationalist who collaborated with Nazis during World War 2.

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During sentencing over the incident, Pushkin began undressing in protest, a move which saw him placed in solitary confinement for 13 days.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the exiled Belarusian opposition leader, has spoken of her heartbreak following the news of Pushkin's mysterious death.

She said: "It is clear that Pushkin has become another tragic victim of the Lukashenko regime. Thousands of political prisoners are suffering in Belarusian prisons for taking part in pro-democracy protests, supporting Ukraine, or simply expressing their beliefs."

According to human rights group Viasna, Belarus has imprisoned more than 1,500 political prisoners.

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