Musicians from fantasy-folk band IRDORATH detained in Belarus
On August 2, 16 people were detained at a summer house near Minsk (Belarus) including members of the internationally acclaimed Belarusian fantasy-folk band IRDORATH.
The detention with machine gun shooting took place at the birthday party of the band’s frontwoman Nadezhda Kalach. The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs reports that criminal proceedings have been instituted against six detainees. According to human rights activists, members of the band are charged with Art. 342 of the Criminal Code (Organization of actions that grossly violate public order). They face up to 4 years in prison.
The reason? They were playing bagpipes on the streets during the mass demonstrations in Minsk in August 2020. From the report by military officials: „In AUGUST LAST YEAR, a group of „pipers” repeatedly led a column of protesters and, using musical instruments, involved citizens in an unauthorized mass march. The performance of the coordinators strengthened the protest mood of the participants and pushed them to unlawful actions against the police”.
Here is a video where a policeman tells what “criminals” these musicians are.
Those days in August 2020 hundreds of thousands of people across the country took to the streets in opposition to electoral fraud of the Lukashenko’s regime and unprecedented violence of security forces. Active but peaceful protests continued for several months. As a result, more than 35,000 were arrested on administrative charges. More than 4,000 criminal cases have been filed. More than 600 people are recognized as political prisoners by human rights organizations. And these numbers are growing every day.
Some of the Irdorath band’s detained friends were already sentenced to imprisonment for 15 days, some of them were fined.
During the court Alexandra Hrakhouskaya, leader of the band By Cry and one of the guests of that party said that everyone gathered and before the celebration everyone saw how people in military uniform ran at them from both sides and started firing. Alexandra added that there had been so many shots that she hadn’t understood why everyone was still alive. She said that the summer house did not even have a gate – only a broken wicket (note that the guests were detained for disobedience to the police, more precisely, not opening the gate).
The members of the band are in jail waiting for the court.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
The Belarusian Council for Culture which aims to support repressed artists, has launched a fundraising campaign to financially support the arrested musicians and their families. You can leave a donation by following the link on the GetDonate platform.
You can spread this information in media, social media (with hashtag #freeIrdorath) for as many people as possible hear and know about this iniquity taking place in Belarus. The law does not work in today’s Belarus, so the musicians will likely get into prison for a long time.
Another option is to somehow raise the attention of EU politicians to help them make decisions. Or at least just tell people about the law disaster now happening in Belaruse.
There is however a Belarusian Council for Culture in exile which have several options to show solidarity: https://byculture.org/en#support.
Materiały nadesłane do redakcji.
7 sierpnia 2021