Siarhei Kavalenka stands trial in Vitebsk

As a result of hunger-striking the political prisoner has reduced by 25 kg. His wife Alena Kavalenka informed journalists of four scheduled hearings of his case (February 21, 22, 23, 24).

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. According to the political prisoner’s family, since that time Kavalenka has refused food in spite of attempted force-feeding. His relatives are deeply concerned about his health.

Before opening the court Vitebsk human rights defender Pavel Levinau filed a request for varying the preventive measure with judge Alena Zhuk. Mr. Levinau sees no reason why Kavalenka should be put away. In his opinion, the opposition activist’s detention in custody is politically motivated. «Siarhei Kavalenka does pose no risk to the public. He is neither murderer nor robber,» the request says.


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