Belarus: Punk band leader sentenced over ‘hooliganism’ for dancing in the street

24 March 2021
Image: Musician and activist Ihar Banster/ Punk band ‘Mister X on Facebook



19 March 2021: Judge Natallya Kozel sentenced Ihar Banster, the leader of the punk band Mister X, to 18 months of restriction of liberty under Article 339 of the Criminal Code for “hooliganism”, reported

Since 20 October of last year, Banster has been kept in Hrodna pre-trial detention centre for dancing in front of a police car wearing only underwear on the night of 5 September. 

This street performance was considered a criminal case of “hooliganism”. Its punishment can be up to 3 years in prison.

Banster’s first hearing was on 3 March, the same day he started a dry hunger strike in protest against political persecution. On 18 March, the hearing resumed at Leninski district court. 

Banster was temporarily released on 19 March under the written pledge not to leave the country.

Bancer’s free!!!!! He is sentenced to 8 months of correctional labor without sending to jail.

Posted by Mister X BY Streetpunk on Friday, 19 March 2021


According to, the artist said: “I feel great. I will gradually quit hungerstriking […] I am very grateful to everyone for their support, solidarity, letters. Write to political prisoners, it is very important!”

Freemuse has documented that in Belarus in 2020, all documented violations of artistic freedom were committed by President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. Peaceful protests requesting the president’s resignation and the release of political prisoners staged across the country.

In 2020, Banster had been fined and has spent a total of 18 days in jail for participating in the protests after the 9 August elections. 

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