A famous volunteer, head of the "House of Mercy", found dead in Kyiv

Alexey Kuchapin helped the homeless and orphans, tried to return the apartments taken from pensioners and disabled people, and investigated cases related to the export of children. Photo: Facebook / Zakhariya Kerstiuk

Fr. Zakhariya Kerstiuk, a friend and associate of Alexey Kuchapin, who was found dead, spoke about the threats they repeatedly received because of aiding the homeless.

A well-known volunteer, head of the public organization "House of Mercy Kyiv" Aleksey Kuchapin, who devoted all his time to helping the disadvantaged, was found dead in an apartment in the Dniprovsky district of the capital a few days after his disappearance, reports the press service of the Desniansky Police Department on Wednesday, July 22, 2020.

“To establish the cause of death, forensic medical expertise was ordered. <...> During the preliminary examination of the body, the forensic experts did not find outward signs of violent death. The final cause of death will be established after a forensic medical examination,” the statement says.

On July 16, Aleksey Kuchapin broke contact; at the request of his relatives, the police opened criminal proceedings under Art. 115 (Intentional murder) of the Criminal Code.

“Taking into account the new circumstances, the investigators re-qualified the criminal proceedings under Part 1 of Art. 115 (Intentional murder) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine with additional qualifications – natural death. The pre-trial investigation continues,” the press service of the Desniansky Police Department added.

Alexey Kuchapin, who was to turn 40 on August 9, was actively involved in volunteer activities. He helped the homeless and orphans, tried to return apartments confiscated from pensioners and disabled people, investigated cases related to the export of children, helped girls-orphans to break out of slavery.

After the disappearance of his friend and associate, the cleric of the Kyiv Eparchy of the UOC, the initiator of the "Mercy without Borders" mission, Archpriest Zakhariya Kerstiuk, spoke about the threats that had repeatedly come to them, "including physical liquidation, if we do not stop aiding the homeless".

“Now the "Station" threats to eliminate us all have become a reality!” wrote a priest of the UOC on his Facebook page after the police discovered the body of Alexey Kuchapin. “They kept their word and began to quietly remove those who (in their opinion) destabilized the situation inside the people they hold in slavery. To our question of what is wrong in feeding the homeless, they often replied that the homeless see hope in us and are reluctant to follow their "orders" to beg on the subway/ electric trains, etc. And they often swore that they would do everything so that we would never again appear in the usual habitats of the homeless, and they would do it in such a way that people would consider it either natural death or revenge of the homeless for refusing to help!"

The priest said how one day a policeman (at the rank of a deputy chief) approached him personally and said that “if we didn’t stop going to the Station, he would make a homeless man come up to me from behind, stab me with a knife, and they would report this as an everyday conflict to society, say, I refused to help him and he took revenge."

“After these words, seeing that they failed to intimidate us, they began to force us out of the Station and its perimeters by force. This was the first time in nine years of our feeding the homeless at the Station when the police not only obstructed our activities but also used force against us (sprayed gas in our eyes /pushed/ blocked the road, etc.). To stop this chaos, I had to turn to Anton Gerashchenko for help, and only after his intervention the "winter hell" at the Station (which lasted almost two months) against us, volunteers, from the police – stopped! But not threats … And now Alexey is found dead ... And from this I just want to cry ... This is frustration ... After all, we just helped those who in this country were not needed by anyone ...," added Father Zakhariya Kerstiuk.

As the UOJ reported, in May 2017, an attempt was made on the life of the founder of the "Mercy without Borders" mission, Archpriest Zakhariya Kerstiuk.

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