Siarhei Kavalenka resumes hunger strike

The political prisoner resumed his hunger strike on May 8, 2012, his wife Alena Kavalenka told journalists. He reiterated his protest against the unrighteous sentence and demands the release of all the political prisoners as well as using the national white-red-white flag and Pahonya emblem. Originally Siarhei Kavalenka had been keeping the hunger strike from December 20, 2011 to April 13, 2012 with some intervals. He had been repeatedly force-fed in prison hospital.

At the current moment Siarhei Kavalenka is being kept in Vitsebsk detention facility №2. As Alena Kavalenka mentioned, her husband quit hunger-striking on April 13, 2012 not to be found insane. Shortly before the special commission resolved that Siarhei Kavalenka should be subjected to comprehensive mental examination in hospital environment, and the oppositionist was moved to Navinki psychiatric hospital in Minsk district.

«A person who once was at Navinki [mental hospital – Belsat] psychological expertise unit told me that if a prisoner refuses to eat he might be found insane without being examined. In my opinion this was explained to Siarhei, and he decided to stop hunger strike,» Alena Kavalenka told Belsat TV.

«Now he is seriously ill. An honest Navinki worker let us know that Siarhei remained in critical condition when he was moved to Navinki; his weight was about 40 kg. Within three weeks the medical staff did their best to cure him. But all the same, he left hospital having problems with the internals,» Alena Kavalenka pointed out.

To her opinion, Siarhei Kavalenka does have the right to obtain medical care in concordance with the international conventions signed by the Republic of Belarus.

«Taking into account all that is going on with Siarhei I realize that the authorities and force structures are intentionally killing him. I do not understand why. For the reason that he is Belarusian? For the reason that he loves the native language? Or for the reason that he respects the national symbols?» Alena Kavalenka wonders.

The activist of the Conservative Christian Party of the Belarusian People’s Front (CCP-BPF) was repeatedly detained for organising a number of protest actions. 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). Being accused of violation of parole and facing three-year imprisonment on December, 20 he went on hunger-striking in protest.

Kavalenka’s cassational appeal hearing is to be reopened on May 18, 2012 in the Vitsebsk region court.


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