Kavalenka to be put in psychiatric hospital

A panel of Vitsebsk regional court ordered that Siarhei Kavalenka should be subjected to comprehensive mental examination in hospital environment. Soon the oppositionist will be moved to Navinki psychiatric hospital in Minsk district.

The consideration of case upon Siarhei Kavalenka’s cassational appeal against his prison sentence is postponed until the examination findings are known, human rights defender Valiantsin Stefanovich told journalists.

«Taking this decision was initiated by the panel members. Admittedly, there has been an outbreak of differences,» Stefanovich said. According to the human rights defender, on one hand, in Minsk Siarhei was admitted mentally sane but the prison hospital doctor believes that Siarhei does have a mental disorder.

The panel said that the new psychiatric examination should answer the following five questions: whether Mr. Kavalenka had a mental disorder when putting a white-red-white flag on top of Vitsebsk`s Christmas tree in January 2010, whether he was then able to weigh the consequences of his actions, whether he has a mental disorder at present, whether he should be subjected to involuntary treatment and whether he has some mental peculiarities, Mr. Stefanovich said.

The date of the next hearing has not been appointed yet.

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.

Since April 1, 2012 Siarhei Kavalenka has been force-fed with Bellakt formula milk in the psychiatric unit of the penal colony hospital. From time to time prison doctors put him on a drip against his will.



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