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Belarusian journalist fined for teddy bear photo session

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Aug. 9, 2012, 2:54 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

A court in the Belarusian capital Minsk has ordered Belarus Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist Irina Kozlik to pay a fine for holding a teddy bear photo session.
© AP

MINSK - A court in the Belarusian capital Minsk has ordered Belarus Komsomolskaya Pravda journalist Irina Kozlik to pay a fine in Belarusian rubles equivalent to $360 for holding a teddy bear photo session, a Belarusian Association of Journalists spokesman told Interfax.

"The court has established that Kozlik participated in a protest that was not authorized by the Minsk city administration. A fine of 30 basic units [some $360] was imposed on the Komsomolka journalist," he said.

A hearing into the case of photographer Yulia Doroshevich continues, he said.

Kozlik and Doroshevich were detained by police outside the Arts Palace in central Minsk on Wednesday while taking photos of teddy bears. They were accused of staging an illegal protest and a protocol of administrative offences was compiled against them.

Several Belarusian journalists have participated in different online events and have had their photos taken with teddy bears since July, thus demonstrating their support of journalist Anton Suryapin, who was detained by the Belarusian State Security Committee after publishing photos of teddy bears dropped by Swedish pilots over Minsk on his website at the beginning of July.

The Belarusian media reported on July 4 that a lightweight civilian airplane operated by Swedish citizens crossed the Belarusian airspace from Lithuania and dropped teddy bears with labels calling for freedom of speech in Belarus over Minsk and Ivenets, a town in the Minsk region.

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