Ihar Tsikhanyuk, beaten by police for being gay in Belarus
Ihar Tsikhanyuk is a gay man living in Minsk, Belarus. When he tried to set up a gay rights organisation, the police beat him. When he complained, they said they'd beat him again.
Ihar asked authorities to investigate the police brutality against him. They refused. A year and a half later, Ihar is still waiting for justice. He continues to face discrimination day in, day out.
'It is difficult, very difficult to be gay in Belarus.’
Being anything but heterosexual is dangerous in Belarus. Identify as LGBTI publically and you can expect to be discriminated against in every step of your daily life.
You can’t go to the police for protection – in fact, they may come to investigate you of their own accord, harassing you for your sexual orientation and gender identity. Complain about your treatment and your requests for justice will fall on deaf ears.
That has been the experience of Ihar Tsikhanyuk, an openly gay man in Belarus.
Beaten by police in hospital for being gay
Ihar was in hospital for critical treatment for a stomach ulcer. Police officers turned up to the hospital ward and escorted him to a police station. At the station, they asked him personal questions. When Ihar didn’t answer, they beat him. When he did answer, they beat him regardless.
The director of the ward on which Ihar was being treated phoned the police station and demanded that he was sent back to the hospital. The police officers drove Ihar, bruised and beaten, back to hospital. LGBTI groups silenced by authorities
Why were police investigating Ihar? He is part of LGBTI group Human Rights Centre Lambda that had recently tried to register as an official organisation with Belarus’ Ministry of Justice, as they were required to do by law. Soon after, members of the police force paid visits to the group’s founding members – including Ihar.
There is still not a single organisation that represents and protects LGBTI rights in Belarus. Authorities denied the registration, while intimidating the group’s members and associates. Police refused to investigate Ihar’s abuse
Ihar told us that when he asked for investigation into his treatment by Minsk police force, they outright refused to investigate the allegations. The Chief of Criminal Investigation said that gay people should be 'slaughtered like cattle'.
To date, the authorities have continued to refuse Ihar justice. By writing to the authorities responsible, you can help let them know that Ihar’s case is famous, and around the world there are people standing by his side.
Your support means the world to Ihar
Ihar said that the attack left him humiliated and empty. But he also told us that he gets strength from knowing that people around the world know about his case, and the situation around LGBTI rights in Belarus.
Thank you to the nearly 14,000 of you who join our call to demand justice for Ihar. Our action is now closed, but we are still campaigning for Ihar and keeping a close eye on his case.