• Urgent Action


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.

TAKE ACTION: 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. 2. Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 35.21. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.
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.