The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media asked Belarusian authorities to drop charges against detained journalist.
“I am surprised and alarmed that Anton Suryapin 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.
Suryapin 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 Ivyanets, Belarus in early July.
On 7 August, the Press Centre of the State Security Committee published information that a criminal case was launched against Suryapin 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.