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Sweden Belarus human rights row continues

Belarusian KGB wants meeting with Swedish agency over teddy-bears

Published lördag 11 augusti 2012 kl 11.21
The Swedish PR company reponsible dropping teddy-bears bearing human rights messages over Belarus has been summoned to Belarus by the state security agency KGB. Photo: Scanpix

The Swedish PR agency Studio Total, which was responsible for the teddy-bear air drop in Belarus in July, have been called to attend a meeting with the Belarusian State Security Agency, KGB, reports news agency TT.

After the teddy-bears bearing messages of human rights and criticisms of president Aleksandr Lukasjenko's regime were dropped over Minsk in July, the Belarusian government has voiced suspicions that the Swedish embassy was involved in the stunt.

The Swedish ambassador to Belarus, Stefan Eriksson, was recently expelled from the country.

Now the KGB in Belarus have demanded representatives of the agency Studio Total travel to Belarus in the next ten days, according to the company's founder Per Cromwell. Cromwell told TT he suspects they are being called as suspects in the teddy-bear case.

"If there are official suspicions against us it's a little unclear whether it would be a good idea to go there."

"If we can get a guarantee that we won't be put in prison, we can travel there to witness", he said.

According to news agency Interfax, cited by TT, the KGB has promised that the company's representatives will receive fair and legal treatment upon their arrival.

Martin Uggla from the Swedish human rights organisation Östgruppen says such promises are not to be trusted.

"The legal authorities are completely controlled by the regime, so you can't take this promise too seriously", he told TT.

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