Dzmitry Zavadski worked in the press-pool of Alexandre Lukashenka from 1994 up to 1997. In 1997 Dzmitry went to work with the Public Russian TV ORT.
In the spring of 1997 he was arrested together with another journalist of Russian TV channel ORT Pavel Sheremet for the report about transparency of Belarusian-Lithuanian border, and got a year and a half of suspended sentence.
From October of 1999 until May of 2000 he was working in Chechnya, where together with Pavel Sheremet was shooting a film Chechnya’s Diary.
Upon the disappearance, a criminal murder case was started, and later reclassified into abduction.
Starting from October 24, 2001 four people (V. Ihnatovich, M. Malik, A. Huz and S. Savushkin) were on a closed trial for the abduction of Dzmitry Zavadsky. On March 14, 2002 they were sentenced to long penalty terms, among other things, on the basis of the digging tool with blood of Zavadsky, which had been found in Ihnatovich’s car. Valery Ignatovich and Maxim Malik were sentenced to life imprisonment; Aliaxey Huz and Siarhey Savushkin were sentenced to 25 and 12 years in prison respectively. It was reported that the convicts kept pleading not guilty, calling the legal trial a farce.
As for the motive of the abduction of Dmitry Zavadsky, according to the version of the investigation, it had become Dzmitry’s interview to “Belaruskaya Delovaya Gazeta” (Belarusian Business Newspaper) about the former special service officials who waged the war at Chechnya’s side. Though the name of Ihnatovich was not mentioned in the interview, the investigators were sure that it was exactly an “Almaz-member” who had taken revenge on the television operator.
On November 27, 2003 Frunzenski District Court of Minsk made a decision to acknowledge the disappeared journalist to be a dead one.
On December 10, 2003 The Prosecutor Body of The Republic of Belarus resumed the investigation of the case of Zavadsky’s disappearance. It is not inconceivable that the resumption of the case was connected with a visit of Christos Pourghourides, Special Rapporteur of The Parliament Assembly of European Council, who wrote a report about disappeared people in Belarus and in November-December of 2003 visited Belarus twice.
Investigation has resumed several times due to newly revealed circumstances, but it did not contribute to solving the case. Each time the case was suspended with the indication that the body of the abducted person has not been found. (More on the case in the Unsolved Cases section).
Now and then Belarusian Association of Journalists reminds the investigative bodies that it is necessary to lead the case to the end. Not only Zavadski case is a sensitive issue; nearly at the same time, several politicians and public activists were abducted – the chairperson of the Central Electoral Committee Victor Hanchar, a businessman and activist Anatol Krasouski (September 16, 1999); ex-minister of the interior Yury Zakharanka (May 7, 1999).
Zavadski’s friends and colleagues share their memories about him.