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Требуем немедленно освободить Антона Суряпина и Сергея Башаримова.

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In English - below

4 июля 2012 года рано утром белорусскую границу незаметно для системы ПВО пересек шведский легкомоторный самолет. С него над Беларусью были сброшены плюшевые медвежата с лозунгами в поддержку свободы слова.

13 июля сотрудники КГБ арестовали Антона Суряпина по обвинению в пособничестве незаконному пересечению границы. Фотожурналист провинился в том, что первым разместил на своем сайте bnp.by фотографии плюшевых медвежат, сброшенных со шведского самолета.

7 июля арестовали Сергея Башаримова по тому же обвинению, что и Антона Суряпина. Риэлтор Сергей Башаримов оказался виновным в том, что сдал шведам квартиру на несколько суток.

На сегодня Сергею Башаримову официально предъявлено обвинение в пособничестве в пересечении государственной границы. Предъявлено ли обвинение Антону Суряпину, неизвестно, потому что власти всячески скрывают информацию про арестованного журналиста. Хотя Антон Суряпин находится в СИЗО КГБ уже больше того времени, на которое законом разрешено задерживать гражданина без предъявления обвинения.

31 июля Лукашенко освободил от должности председателя Госпогранкомитета Игоря Рачковского и командующего ВВС и войсками ПВО Дмитрия Пахмелкина, ряду руководителей силовых структур объявлены выговоры за инцидент со шведским самолетом.

Основываясь на абсурдности обвинений, отсутствии доказательств и наказании настоящих виновных - генералов ПВО, ВВС и Погранкомитета, требуем:

Немедленно освободить Антона Суряпина и Сергея Башаримова.

 

In English

Two Belarusian men — student Anton Suryapin and estate agent Sergei Basharimov — are facing a seven-year jail sentence for posting online photographs of teddy bears carrying placards in support of freedom of expression in Belarus. They have been charged with “organizing illegal migration”. They are prisoners of conscience.

Background story:

On 4 July a Swedish advertising company Studio Total arranged a stunt to draw attention to widespread violations of freedom of expression and human rights in Belarus — the small former Soviet republic, widely known as “the last dictatorship in Europe”. Two members of Studio Total flew into Belarus from Lithuania, in violation of Belarusian law, in a single-engined aircraft.


The Swedes flew low over the town of Ivenets, and dropped 876 teddy bears on parachutes carrying placards calling for freedom of expression in Belarus. Video footage released by Studio Total the following day shows two people in animal masks, one of whom is throwing teddy bears out of the plane.

The Belarusian Ministry of Defence immediately denied that Belarusian airspace had been violated and said the video footage of the event was clearly a fabrication. Police in Ivenets collected up the teddy bears, but eyewitnesses interviewed by Radio Free Europe and Belarusian independent media said they had seen the teddy bears and the aircraft.

However, the Belarusian authorities have unlawfully detained two innocent people in connection with the events:

(1) ANTON SURYAPIN

Anton Suryapin, a 20 year-old student at Belarus State University's journalism school, was arrested on 13 July 2012. He is facing seven years in prison according to article 371 of the Criminal Code of Belarus (“the organization of illegal migration”).

The Belarusian authorities arrested Anton Suryapin because he was one of the first to publish photos of the Ivenets teddy bears. He uploaded on a website he runs called Belarusian News Photos photographs of the teddy bears dropped from the plane. Anton Suryapin maintains that he received the photographs from an anonymous source.

According to Belarusian law, Anton Suryapin can be held for 10 days, after which he must be charged or released. The 10-day period of detention ended on 23 July 2012, and as he has not been released, it is believed that he has been charged with “organising illegal migration”. His lawyer is unable to discover any further information, because Anton Suryapin is being held incommunicado in the KGB prison in Minsk.

(2) SERGEI BASHARIMOV

Sergei Basharimov, who runs a flat rental agency in Minsk, was detained on suspicion of having assisted the Swedes to cross the border illegally because he had arranged a flat for the pilot and his two associates, who travelled to Minsk before the stunt and left immediately afterwards. He was charged on 16 July under Article 371 Part 3 of the Criminal Code, under which Anton Suryapin is being held, and also faces up to seven years in prison.

The pilot, Tomas Mazetti, denounced the arrests in an interview with Charter97.org website on 18 July, and said he and his colleague had had no contact whatsoever with Anton Suryapin, and that Sergei Basharimov had merely handed them the key to a rental apartment.    Please sign this petition and demand the two men to be immediately released!



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