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Belarussian KGB summons Swedes over airspace violation

August 11, 2012, 12:54 UTC+3

The State Security Committee on August 7 stated that a criminal case was opened over the fact of illegal crossing of the state border

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MINSK, August 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Belarus's State Security Committee (KGB) summons Swedish citizens over the criminal case of illegal crossing of the Belarussian border -- the intrusion aboard a light plane into the country's airspace.

The text of the issued summonses addressed to Hannah Lina Frey, Cromwell Per and Tomas Mazetti are placed in the KGB official site.

The notification in English informs them that in accordance with Article 216 of the Belarussian Criminal Code, they must appear in the KGB investigation department, Independence Avenue, 17, Minsk, within ten days to be questioned. They must inform the Security Committee about the time of their arrival. They must have the passports or other identity documents with them. If they refuse to appear and give evidence for the investigation, they will be fined or may be sentenced to two years' corrective labour or up to six months' imprisonment, in accordance with Article 402 of the Criminal Code.

If a witness is absent without valid reasons, the investigator or the court have the right to force the person to appear before the court, the notification adds. It is signed by KGB investigator Chernavsky.

The border violation was committed on July 4. Early in the morning, a small light plane with two Swedish citizens aboard intruded into the Belarussian airspace from Lithuania without permission. The aircraft flew to the town of Ivenets and then to Minsk. The plane was in the sky over Belarus for almost an hour and 30 minutes and safely returned back. More than 800 small teddy bears with slogans in support of democratic processes in Belarus were dropped from the plane during the flight.

The State Security Committee on August 7 stated that a criminal case was opened over the fact of illegal crossing of the state border.

During the investigation, two people were detained -- student journalist Anton Suryapin, who was the first to place photos of the teddy bears' landing in his site, and realtor Sergei Basharimov, who rented a flat to Swedes, who possibly monitored the flight of the trespassing plane. The two detainees face charges of complicity in illegal border crossing.

To objectively investigate the criminal case and clear up the circumstances of the violation of the airspaces of Belarus and Lithuania, the State Security Committee suggests the Swedish citizens involved in the organization and the illegal crossing of the border arrive in Minsk as suspects for the investigation, including simultaneous questioning of witnesses and defendants.

The committee assured the Swedes that their rights would be observed in accordance with the law.

A few days ago, the Belarussian authorities through the Prosecutor General's Office asked Lithuania and Sweden to provide legal assistance in the investigation.

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