A photographer and journalism student faces up to seven years in prison after posting pictures of a stunt involving teddy bears to draw attention to violations of freedom of expression in Belarus, prompting Amnesty International to call for his immediate release.
Photographer Anton Suryapin, 20, was detained on 13 July under suspicion of having assisted an organized group illegally to cross the border of Belarus. According to Belarusian law he should have been charged or released before 23 July. He was not released on Monday and Amnesty International assumes therefore that he was charged.
“The charges against Anton Suryapin represent a further nail in the coffin of freedom of expression and association in Belarus, where spurious charges are frequently used in an attempt to silence those working to defend human rights,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.
“He should be released immediately and the charges against him dropped.”