Bijan Djir-Sarai, a member of the German Bundestag and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, has welcomed the release of Belarusian photographer Anton Surapin.
"I’m deeply relieved to hear about Anton Suryapin [Surapin]’s release from prison,"Mr. Djir-Sarai says in his statement published Monday on the website of Germany’s Lebereco – Partnership for Human Rights. "Nevertheless, it can just be seen as an important step in the right direction – still there is more to do. The restriction on his free movement is not acceptable. Freedom of expression as well as freedom of movement are crucial human rights. The charge against him must be completely withdrawn."
In July, Mr. Djir-Sarai condemned the Belarusion authorities’ actions in response to an incident in which Swedish citizens illegally flew a small plane from Lithuania to Belarus and dropped hundreds of parachute-wearing teddy bears that carried pro-human rights messages on the small city of Ivyanets and Minsk’s outskirts before flying back to Lithuania unhindered.
The 20-year-old Surapin, a fourth-year student at Belarusian State University`s Journalism Institute, was arrested by the Belarusian KGB on July 13 after he posted pictures of the teddy bears on his website titled Belarusian News Photos.
The young man was charged with complicity in the “illegal crossing” into Belarusian airspace. He was released on his own recognizance on August 17.