Dunja Mijatović calls on Belarusian authorities to release Anton Surapin
The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media
asked Belarusian authorities to drop charges against detained journalist.
“I am surprised and alarmed that Anton Surapin has been indicted for uploading teddy bear photos. I hope that he will soon be set free and cleared of all charges brought against him,” Dunja Mijatović said. “I further hope that the ‘teddy bear case’ is not the latest attempt to suppress freedom of expression in Belarus using dubious criminal charges.”
The Representative three months ago called on the Belarusian authorities to stop persecuting the media and annul all sentences against independent journalists.
Surapin was detained on 13 July as part of an investigation into the air drop of hundreds of teddy bears pinned with press freedom messages over the town of Ivianets, Belarus in early July.
On 7 August, the Press Center of the State Security Committee published information that a criminal case was launched against Surapin under Article 371, Part 3 for “organized illegal crossing of the border” and Article 6, Part 16 for “complicity in the crime.” He faces up to seven years in prison.