“Viasna” demands to release Anton Surapin and Siarhei Basharymau
The Human Rights Center "Viasna"
Minsk, July 24, 2012
The Human Rights Center "Viasna" demands to release Anton Surapin and Siarhei Basharymau
Siarhei Basharymau was detained and taken into custody in the KGB detention center on July 7, 2012; photographer Anton Surapin was arrested on July 13, 2012. On 17 and July 23 respectively, they were charged under Par. 3. Art. 371 of the Criminal Code (“Illegal crossing of state borders of Belarus”) for alleged publication of photos by Anton Surapin depicting a Swedish aircraft flying in the Belarusian airspace. The allegations brought against Siarhei Basharymau seem to be even more absurd, as he is charged with renting an apartment to the citizens of Sweden and assisting an illegal crossing of the state border of Belarus.
It should be noted that the arrests of Anton Surapin and Siarhei Basharymau were carried out against the background of the Ministry of Defense’s claims that did not confirm the fact of crossing of the state border of Belarus.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” views the arrest and detention of Anton Surapin and Siarhei Basharymau as an escalation of fear in society and an attempt to shift responsibility for the improper protection of state borders and airspace to ordinary citizens.
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” stresses that the criminal investigation against Anton Surapin and Siarhei Basharymau is accompanied with an atmosphere of complete information isolation: the KGB fails to inform about the reasons for the detention, the nature and scope of the grave charges. In addition it should be noted that the methods of investigation used by the KGB following the events of December 19, 2010, including torture reports by persons held in the KGB jail, raise serious concern about the fate of these young people.
In this regard, The Human Rights Center “Viasna” demands to:
- change the preventive measure against Anton Surapin and Siarhei Basharymau and release them from the KGB pre-trial prison.
- strictly comply with all the guarantees provided by the laws of the Republic of Belarus, including the right to protection and freedom from torture and other inhuman treatment of detainees.
- provide public explanations on the grounds of the charges brought against Anton Surapin and Siarhei Basharymau.