10 Absurd and Unjust Arrests of 2012

Check out our list of 10 absurd arrests and sentences of the year. You might be surprised to learn what can get you thrown in jail in a few places around the world, and how harsh the sentences are once you’re there.

belarus teddy bears fly over minsk

Bears being dropped. Photo via Studio Total

1. Posting photos of teddy bears.

Anton Suryapin of Belarus spent more than a month in detention after posting photos of teddy bears being dropped from an airplane. The bears were part of a stunt by a Swedish advertising company calling for freedom of expression in Belarus. Anton is charged of “organizing illegal migration” simply because he was the first upload photos of the teddy bears, and still faces a prison sentence of up to seven years.

2. Tweeting.

After allegedly “publicly insulting the King” on Twitter, a Bahraini man had his six-month prison sentence upheld on appeal, while three others are serving four-month prison sentences. Article 214 of Bahrain’s penal code makes it a crime to offend the King.

3. Opposing the death penalty.


Should This Woman Be Jailed By The U.S. For Resistance to Iraq War?

kimberly rivera

Kimberly Rivera could face 2 to 5 years in prison for her resistance to the Iraq war.

In the next 48 hours, Kimberly Rivera will have her moment of truth: she will find out whether she will be deported to the US., where she will be immediately jailed for her resistance to the Iraq War.

While in Iraq, Kimberly began to seriously doubt the justification of the war, her participation in it, and being part of the US army. Coupled with her study of the Bible, she decided as a matter of moral conscience she could no longer participate in the war. Now she may be jailed for this decision.

She should not be.

Amnesty International believes “the right to refuse to perform military service for reasons of conscience is part of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as recognized in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”