Belarus Border Guard Gets 2 Years in Teddy Bear Stunt

Fallout from Swedish stunt continues
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2013 8:43 AM CST
In this undated photo provided by Studio Total teddy bears hang on parachutes during a training in Stockholm, Sweden.   (AP Photo/Studio Total/Per Cromwell)

(Newser) – Fallout from the Belarus-Sweden teddy bear war continues, more than seven months later: Now a border guard has been sentenced to two years in prison over the stunt, the Los Angeles Times reports. A Swedish plane dropped the invading stuffed toys, complete with messages urging freedom and free speech, into Belarus on July 4. Border patrol detected the plane and the border post was informed, but the guard on duty did not report the airspace violation to his superiors.

Two officials were fired last year for failing to stop the plane, and Belarus later cut quite a few ties with Sweden. Human rights groups say Belarus is one of Europe's most repressive regimes, with at least a dozen political prisoners currently jailed. (Read more Alexander Lukashenko stories.)

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