Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists believes that the detained journalist can be released after examination of his equipment.
Aliaxandar Lukashenka promised to announce on July 30 penalties against persons who have committed illegal border crossing of the Swedish light airplane with teddy bears onboard. Parents of the journalist Anton Suryapin, which is in the KGB jail on suspicion of involvement in the incident, are hoping that their son will be released on Monday. How justified are these expectations?
The situation for "Zavtra twoej strany" is commented by the Vice-Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, lawyer Andrew Bastunets:
- I understand that the statement of the president was about decisions in regard to officers who have committed a violation of the border, not about Suryapin. The journalist is now administered by the investigating authorities. And though I believe that he has to be released long ago, I do not think that it will be connected with the words of Lukashenka.
- How long can Suryapin be held in custody? What can happen with him now?
- Honestly, I was hoping that Suryapin will be released on last Monday, when they either had to bring charges, or to change the preventive measure. According to the information that has leaked, it was possible to conclude that the journalist was not guilty.
I think that Suryapin may be released when the examination of his computer and photo equipment will be conducted. And if this examination will not show Anton’s participation in violation of the border, in theory, he should be released.
I understand that no other investigative activities with Suryapin, by and large, are not carried out. He just sits and waits for the end of the examination.
- Why the authorities are hiding all information on this case, including Anton Suryapin?
- A number of joint resolutions of power structures was published a few years ago, which deal with the procedure for providing information on corruption cases or cases that have caused wide public resonance. Instead of transparency in dealing with such cases, these structures prescribed a top secrecy for all information in such cases.
The investigation in Belarus is more comfortable to lead, working in an environment, where the society is minimally informed about what is happening. While, for example, information about the procedural status of Anton Suryapin and those actions carried out with him cannot be the mystery of the investigation.