Marek Migalski, Member of the European Parliament took over a prisoner’s godparenthood for Siarhei Kavalenka, condemned to 25 months of penal colony.
Marek Migalski has started the website where you can find further information about Kavalenka’s case. On the website its founders also published the petition to Belarusian authorities regarding the opposition activist, who was condemned for solidarity with democratic values and national symbols. The authors of petition are: Marek Migalski, Siarhei Kavalenka’s wife Elena and Vladimir Bukovsky, leading member of the dissident movement and human rights defender, who spent twelve years in Soviet prisons and labor camps.
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.
On February 24, 2012 the Pershamayski district court in Vitsebsk chaired by judge Alena Zhuk sentenced the oppositionist to two years and one month in a low security correctional institution on a charge of violating probation rules.
The court started the consideration of case upon Kavalenka’s cassational appeal on April 10, 2012. Then a panel of Vitsebsk regional court ordered 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.
On April 13, 2012 Siarhei Kavalenka quit hunger-striking. According to his wife, the political prisoner made this step not to be found insane. But Kavalenka resumed it on May 8, 2012: 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.
On May, 2012 Kavalenka was moved to Mahiliou penal colony №19.
Kavalenka’s only crime was planting a banned Belarus national white-red-white flag on top of a Christmas tree in Vitebsk. The political prisoner’s condition is life threatening: last week he was diagnosed with hepatosis. Hunger strike, on which Kavalenka had been for a few months, led to irreversible changes in his body, but Belarusian authorities refuse to provide independent and specialist medical care.
You also can take a stand in favor of the Belarusian oppositionist signing the petition.