The Board of BAJ urges all who support independent journalism to sign a petition to free the imprisoned photographer

The Belarusian Association of Journalists calls on all of its members and all concerned citizens to sign a special petition demanding the release of Anton Surapin. BAJ also asks that international journalism organizations and colleagues join the campaign.

“Anton has been held in a KGB detention center since July 13, 2012 on charges of assisting the illegal crossing of the state border, committed by an organized group of people (Part 6 of Article 16 and Part 3 of Article 371 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus). It appears that his crime was to publish online exclusive photos of teddy bears dropped from an airplane that had crossed the border.

We believe that the criminal prosecution of Mr. Surapin is directly connected with his professional activities and egregiously violates the right to receive, store and disseminate information, which is guaranteed by the Belarusian Constitution.

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of Anton Surapin, and the dismissal of the criminal case against him.

We urge Belarusian citizens, human rights defenders and nongovernmental organizations to support our demand, bearing also in mind the other detainee in this criminal case – the real estate agent Siarhei Basharymau.”

BAJ asks all who support this appeal for Anon Surapin to send their petitions via registered mail to the following address:  Belarusian Association of Journalists, Kamsamolskaia Street, 7-32, 220030, Minsk. We ask that you also retain a copy as proof of your action.

As we gather the incoming petitions, BAJ will submit them to the KGB, the body which has decided to arrest the journalist.

You can also submit your petition electronically. According to Belarusian law, electronic appeals have the same legal standing as written ones.

In electronic form, please, send scans of your petition to the KGB at:

info@kgb.gov.by

and to the Prosecutor’s Office at:

npc@prokuratura.gov.by

Please send a copy of your electronic petition to press@baj.by so that we can track the effectiveness of our solidarity campaign.

You can also sign the petition in the BAJ office from 10am to 6pm.

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