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Anton Suryapin, who runs a website called Belarusian News Photos, was arrested for publishing photographs of teddy bears.
The bears were allegedly dropped over Minsk by Studio Total, a Swedish advertising company, who wanted to draw attention to press freedom violations in Belarus. An anonymous person emailed Suryapin the photos, who was one of the first journalists to report the event.
However, the Belarus government is now saying that the photos and videos are fake and that the event never took place.
Suryapin was still detained by the KGB however, which is Belarus' security service, for "accomplice activity" in illegal border crossing, which can lead to a 7 year jail term. Did the teddy bears engage in an illegal border crossing?
Please tell the Belarus government that the freedom of the press is a right -- release Suryapin and drop these ridiculous charges!
I am writing to you today concerning Anton Suryapin.
Suryapin runs a website called Belarusian News Photos, and he was recently detained because he posted pictures of teddy bears (that were submitted to him anonymously) that were allegedly dropped in the country by a Swedish advertising company, trying to bring attention to freedom of the press issues.
However, the Belarus government is now saying that these were fake and that this event didn't happen, but are still detaining Suryapin and charging him with "accomplice activity" for illegal border crossing.
Freedom of the press is a right -- please drop these charges and release Suryapin.
Thank you for your time.