Siarhei Kavalenka: hearing reopened

Siarhei Kavalenka has been sentenced to two years and one month in a low security correctional institution on a charge of violating probation rules. (upd)

As it happened the other day, Kavalenka’s relatives and journalists have not been allowed to attend the court today. The proceedings were officially initiated on February 21, 2012 but the court failed to start trying Kavalenka’s case for the initial two days.

Before the session Alena Kavalenka, the wife of political prisoner, told journalists: «Not providing necessary medical assistance to my husband the authorities are carrying out an intentional homicide.»

Kavalenka’s relatives insist on his urgent hospitalizing alleging as their reason that as a result of hunger-striking he is hanging between life and death. They repeatedly called in an ambulance to the defendant but judge Ala Zhuk stated with reference to the medical assessment that Kavalenka was fit to plead. The opposition activist challenged the judge a few times but in vain.

On February 22, 2012 journalists and Kavalenka’s relatives were expelled from the hall after Alena Kavalenka scuffled with policemen. Since then the proceedings have been heard practically in chambers: there were only come-and-go people in the court. It is the defence lawyers who have informed the family of the execution of the legal process.

It was not until February, 23 when the court initiated the examination of witnesses. They examined four policemen and Kavalenka’s relatives. Another witness did not appear in court.

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.


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