Urgent Action: LIFE OF HUNGER-STRIKING PRISONER AT RISK (Belarus: UA 35.21)

March 18, 2021

Punk musician, Ihar Bantsar, has been on a hunger strike since March 3, 2021 to protest against his prolonged detention on trumped-up criminal charges. He has been imprisoned solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly and he must be immediately and unconditionally released.

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1. Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
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CONTACT INFORMATION

Prosecutor General Andrei Shved
Internatsionalnaya Str., 22
220030 Minsk
Republic of Belarus
Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Dmitry Basik
Embassy of Belarus
1619 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: 202 986 9420 I Fax: 202 986 1805
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @BelarusEmbUSA
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Prosecutor General,

I am writing to express my serious concern for the welfare of detainee, Ihar Bantsar, who has been on a hunger strike since the start of his trial on March 3, 2021 to protest the charges against him. His health has seriously deteriorated, and he is in need of urgent medical attention. Instead, on March 17 he was notified that he has been given three days in a punishment cell for a ‘violation of the [prison] regime’.

Ihar Banstar was detained in Hrodno, western Belarus, on October 20, 2020, after he danced in front of police cars wearing a thong during protests. His actions were entirely peaceful and constitute a legitimate exercise of his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Nonetheless, he was charged under Article 339.1 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (hooliganism) and he remains in detention in Prison No.1 in Hrodno.

Ihar Banstar has been targeted by the authorities as part of the broader, egregious human rights crackdown on peaceful protesters in the wake of the widely contested presidential election in August 2020 in violation of Belarus’ obligations under international human rights law. His human rights have been violated and his health is at risk.

I call on you to:

  • Drop the criminal charges against Ihar Bantsar and immediately and unconditionally release him as he is being prosecuted solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly;
  • Pending his release, ensure that Ihar Banstar receives adequate health care, in compliance with medical ethics, including the principles of confidentiality, autonomy, and informed consent.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME]

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

URGENT: Children seeking asylum in the U.S. are being denied their human rights based on their nationality — help ensure that all girls and boys fleeing violence can seek safety.