Former political prisoner: “I tried to cut my veins”
At the press conference organised by Belsat TV Siarhei Kavalenka told journalists about the confinement conditions and his hunger strike as a result of which he lost about 30 kg.
Cured to suicide attempt
During the period of force-feeding the former political prisoner was being kept tied to his bed for days, he said. Nobody knows what medicines were contained in those drop bottles and injections but Siarhei always bled at the mouth after the procedures. Due to endless humiliation and hostility the prisoner even made a suicide attempt.
“When I was firstly untied I screw a lightbulb and hid in the sweater to prevent colony officers from hearing that I was breaking it. I tried to cut my veins but as I had reduced much that could not see any veins – there were only tendons seen,” he said.
Soon after the hunger-striker was transferred to Navinki mental hospital where the doctor advised him to quit hunger striking otherwise he might be kept in hospital for a long time. It was the fear to be found insane that made him stop, Kavalenka confessed.
Siarhei Kavalenka expressed gratitude to mass media that brought all his troubles out. The political prisoners received hundreds of letters written in the Belarusian language from all over the world. It was only such support and thoughts about his family that helped the oppositionist survive behind the bars.
The Nobel Prize for nothing
As Marek Migalski, a member of the European Parliament, had taken over a prisoner’s godparenthood for Siarhei Kavalenka, launched a web site in his support and gathered about 2,500 signatures for the political prisoner’s release, Kavalenka called him guardian angel.
“I rejoiced at getting to know about Siarhei’s release. But it is not worth calling me angel because I was doing the things I am paid for. What I am doing is of no importance; but the things which other European politicians are not doing really matter. Why should the European Union receive the Nobel Prize when there is a classical dictatorship near us?” the politician wondered.
Migalski reminded that Amnesty International did not recognise Kavalenka prisoner of consciousness on the ground of policemen’s evidence. They stated that Kavalenka had showed resistance while being detained.
According to the MEP, only all EU contries’ consolidated policy may thwart repeating of Kavalenka’s story and help other political prisoners’ release. For the time being, carrot-and-stick diplomacy has been used towards Belarus, he said.
In May 2010 Siarhei Kavalenka received three-year suspended sentence for hanging out a white-red-white flag on the 40-meter New Year Tree in the center of Vitsebsk. This action was defined as «major violation of public order».On December 19, 2011 Kavalenka was arrested in connection with criminal proceedings under Art. 415 of the Criminal Code (evasion of liberty restraint service). On December 20, 2012 Siarhei Kavalenka started hunger-striking in protest. In September 2012 he was pardoned and released.