Student detained in 'teddy bear mystery'

2012-07-17 21:07


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Minsk - Authorities in Belarus have arrested a student as a suspected accomplice in violating the country's borders after he published photos of a mysterious mass landing of teddy bears brandishing protest slogans.

Anton Suryapin, a journalism student in Minsk, was detained on 13 July after the security services - still known as the KGB - searched his home and confiscated his computer, said Belarussian Journalism Association head Andrei Bastunets.

The 20-year-old was placed under arrest as part of a probe into illegal border crossing, and named as an accomplice "based on his publishing of exclusive photos of the 'Swedish teddy-bears'," Bastunets said.

Authorities in the isolated country have denied reports in Swedish media claiming in early July that a small plane crossed the border from Lithuania into Belarus where it air-dropped hundreds of teddy bears on little parachutes holding signs demanding human rights and political freedoms.

Little evidence of the drop surfaced besides one viral video showing a plane pass over what seems to be a provincial town releasing tiny objects and a photo of a bear holding a tiny placard.

Suryapin said on his website that he has been sent photos of the bears made by a local resident, who confirmed the drop.

He has not been officially charged with border violation, an offence which carries up to seven years in jail, but can be held under arrest for 10 days, said Bastunets, who visited the man in the Minsk jail kept by the KGB.

The alleged bear drop sparked huge interest in Belarus, however the country's airforce commander denied that there has been an illicit penetration of the border, calling the news report a "100% provocation against Belarus".

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.