Oleg Bebenin was a leading opposition activist and founder of Charter 97 an opposition website critical of President Lukashenko. He was a campaigner for opposition presidential hopeful Andrei Sannikov.
Bebenin was found hanged in September 2010 apparently having committed suicide. However the father of two children left no suicide note and had no family or health problems.
The US and European Union demanded a full and transparent investigation in to the cause of death. The Prosecutor General’s Office in Belarus having completed their inquiries confirmed the death was by suicide.
However few believe the inquiry’s findings and under further international pressure his case was re-opened on 10th December 2010. More details can be found here:
Please click on this link for the charter 97 site:
ANDREI SANNIKOV who figures prominently in The Black Portrait of Oleg Bebenin was arrested at a protest following the 2010 presidential elections. After spending a year of his 5 year sentence in prison he was conditionally released in April 2012. He later escaped to the UK and in October 2012 he was granted political asylum by the British government.
The scope of The Black Portraits project has been extended to provide for actual portraits of those closely associated with those human rights champions that are in the project but who are dead. In respect of Oleg Bebenin his close friend and associate Andrei Sannikov has agreed to represent Oleg by sitting for a portrait.