On 12 November 2020, Belarusian painter Raman Bandarenka died in hospital due to injuries he obtained after unidentified men in masks beat him during a dispute over his use of a protest flag.
“Freemuse condemns the killing of Raman Bandarenka, who expressed his protest peacefully. The right to freedom of opinion and expression is a basic human right guaranteed by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and should be respected in Belarus,” said Sverre Pedersen, Freemuse Campaigns and Advocacy Manager. “We call on Belarusian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the artist’s death and hold the perpetrators to account.”
Bandarenka was reportedly beaten after an argument between protesters and government supporters over the protest flags that were put up in the neighbourhood. He was then arrested in a Minsk courtyard.
According to Amnesty International’s statement, the unidentified men who beat the artist were members of the Belarusian security forces.
The Belarusian Investigative Committee released a statement condemning the murder and saying that there was “physical injuries and signs of alcohol intoxication” when Bandarenka was arrested.
The European Union condemned the murder of the artist in the statement and suggested that additional sanctions could be imposed for Belarus besides the 55 already enforced on “individuals responsible for violent repression and intimidation”.
Bandarenka’s death comes among widespread demonstrations against the re-election of the Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.
Freemuse condemns the killing of Raman Bandarenka and urges Belarusian authorities to oversee a comprehensive investigation into the death of the artist.