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  • Free Ihar Bancer [Igor Bantser]

    As of March 11, Ihar Bancer [Igor Bantser] has been on a dry hunger strike for eight days. Ihar announced the hunger strike at a court session on March 3 expressing his protest and disagreement with the accusations of Hooliganism that he is facing and that he calls unfair. Ihar has been in prison since October 20, 2020. The musician's relatives and friends believe that one of his unrelated street performances could have been the likely reason for his arrest.

    Accord­ing to the police, on Sep­tem­ber 5 at 3 AM, Ihar was in one of the enter­tain­ment dis­tricts of Hrod­na city. The musi­cian went out into the street, saw a police car there, approached it and alleged­ly began to dance in front of it naked.  Eye­wit­ness­es filmed this action and post­ed it on one of the Hrod­na Telegram chan­nels. Bancer’s friends say that in that video it is clear that Ihar did not take off his under­wear, which means that he can­not be naked. How­ev­er, a crim­i­nal case was sub­se­quent­ly opened against Ihar Bancer under Arti­cle 339 of the Crim­i­nal Code (Hooli­gan­ism), although Igor has stat­ed in court that his actions were mere­ly an expres­sion of dance. 

    Andrzej Poc­zobut, a Hrod­na jour­nal­ist and mem­ber of the Union of Poles in Belarus believes that the author­i­ties are tak­ing revenge on Bancer for his per­for­mances, which have always been loud and res­onat­ed in soci­ety.

    At dif­fer­ent peri­ods of his impris­on­ment, Ihar was placed in a pun­ish­ment cell, has not received care pack­ages, was deprived of meet­ings with his rel­a­tives and was tak­en to a com­pul­so­ry psy­chi­atric exam­i­na­tion. More­over, for some time, law enforce­ment agen­cies would not pro­vide any infor­ma­tion about Igor at all. Thus, the activist’s rel­a­tives were unaware of his loca­tion or con­di­tion dur­ing this time.

    Ihar Bancer is the leader of the Hrod­na street punk band Mis­ter X cre­at­ed in 2003. Before that, he sang in the punk band «Tvar». Mis­ter X is a well-known group in the Pol­ish under­ground punk scene. There the group is often called the most famous Belaru­sian punk rock band and the flag­ship of Belaru­sian street punk. Since its incep­tion, the group has toured in Poland, Latvia, Lithua­nia, Ger­many. In Hrod­na, Ihar Bancer is engaged in cul­tur­al and social activ­i­ties. He is fond of mixed mar­tial arts, Thai box­ing. He is mar­ried with three chil­dren. Veg­e­tar­i­an, alco­hol-free, anti-fas­cist and anti-racist. Ihar is 41 years old as of 2021.

    In sol­i­dar­i­ty with Banсer, fans of the foot­ball club «St. Pauli»  paint­ed graf­fi­ti in Ham­burg and hung a ban­ner in the sta­di­um dur­ing a foot­ball match. In Ger­many, Mis­ter X’s label has launched a #free­bancer cam­paign.  «Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al» has also report­ed about Ihar Bancer’s case.

    Take an action: You could express sup­port for Ihar by send­ing him your words of encour­age­ment.

    Address: prison №1, Kirov st. 1, 230023 Grod­no, Belarus 

    to Bantser Igor Romanovich.

    Feel free to use hash­tag #free­bancer for raise pub­lic aware­ness on Ihar case.

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