Ihar Bantsar

punk musician, sentenced to 1 1/2 years of restricted freedom

Date of birth: 24 February 1980

Date of detention: 20 October 2020

Charges indicted:

Part 1 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code — Hooliganism

Sentence: 1 1/2 years

Penalty: restricted freedom in an open penal facility ("khimiya")

Prison sentence start date: 29 September 2021

Date of release: 17 December 2021

Judge: Natallia Kozel

Godparent: Rasmus Andresen, member of the European Parliament

Ihar Bantsar is a rock musician based in Hrodna, leader of the punk band Mister X, and an activist.

He was detained on October 20, 2020 for performing a dance without pants in front of a police car.

These actions were qualified by the investigation authorities as hooliganism, Part 1 of Art. 339 of the Criminal Code. Meanwhile, as testified by the accused, the actual motives and purposes of this act were protesting through staging a performance, which was accompanied by a partial public exposure (dancing in thongs) in front of a car with police officers in it.

Bantsar was kept in custody until the trial. During the trial, which began on March 3, 2021, the defendant went on a dry hunger strike.

On March 19, 2021, Judge Natallia Kozel of the Lieninski District Court of Hrodna sentenced Ihar Bantsar to one and a half years of restricted freedom in an open correctional facility (so called “khimiya”). The convict was released in the courtroom to await an appeal hearing.

On June 17, Bantsar started serving his sentence at penitentiary No. 9.

On September 29, the Čyhunačny District Court of Viciebsk sentenced Ihar Bantsar to 1 month and 25 days in a penal colony, thus replacing his initial sentence of restricted freedom in an open penitentiary (“khimiya”).

On November 1, the political prisoner was returned from "khimiya" to a penal colony in Viciebsk and immediately placed in a punishment cell. The prison authorities argued that he had committed several violations.

On November 21, the musician was returned to "khimiya" from the punishment cell, where he was kept for 20 days. As Ihar says, the first ten days of the punishment cell was appointed to him because he slept at the wrong time. Another ten days - for refusing to share the cell with a person with a low criminal status, which was regarded as a refusal to obey orders.

On November 24, a trial was held, which overturned the earlier decision ordering the prisoner's transfer to a penal colony.

On November 25, Bantsar was placed in a punishment cell for 10 days for a video comment about the conditions of his imprisonment in the open penitentiary. After that, he was punished by another 10 days in a punishment cell, the reason for which is unknown.

Ihar Bantsar served his entire sentence and was released on December 17, 2021. Since November 25, the political prisoner was kept in a punishment cell for 22 days.

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