Siarhei Kavalenka quits hunger-striking

According to his wife, the political prisoner has made this step not to be found insane.

«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.

In spite of reassuring news, the woman still feels anxious about her husband’s health. She intends to insist on him being transferred to a civilian hospital. «It is difficult to quit such continuous hunger-striking without larger health damaging. It should be done under supervision of appropriate medical experts. I do not think that there are such specialists in the psychological expertise unit,» Alena Kavalenka points out.

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.

On April 10, 2012 a panel of Vitsebsk regional court ordered that Siarhei Kavalenka should be subjected to comprehensive mental examination in hospital environment. Later the oppositionist was moved to Navinki psychiatric hospital in Minsk district.


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