Siarhei Kavalenka sentenced to 3 years of conditional imprisonment
The Kastrychnitski District Court of Vitsebsk issued a verdict on the criminal case against Siarhei Kavalenka, a Vitsebsk activist of the Conservative-Christian Party Belarusian Popular Front. On 13 May the state accuser, Zmitser Rudakou, asked to punish Kavalenka with three years of personal restraint.
However, as it became known from the court verdict, he was sentenced to 3 years of conditional imprisonment, and will also have to pay compensations to policemen Ivanou and Palityka (1 mln rubles (about $335) to each) and Maksimau – 1,5 mln rubles (about $503) and 1,222,000 rubles (about $410) to the Harsviatlo enterprise, for allegedly damaged illumination on the New Year tree, and 62,000 rubles (about $21) – to Zelianbud.
Judge Yauhen Burnou tried to end the trial on 13 May. However, he agreed to postpone the trial to 14 May because of the bad state of health of the defendant. The emergency doctors who were called to the court hall diagnosed Mr. Kavalenka with a high blood pressure and gave him the necessary injections.
Bear in mind that Siarhei Kavalenka was detained at about 1.p.m. on 7 January on the Peramohi Square in Vitsebsk after hanging out a white-red-white flag on the top of the 40-meter New Year tree. On 10 January the Vitsebsk prosecutor sanctioned Kavalenka’s placement to the pre-trial prison for two months. However, on 13 May he was suddenly released under undertaking not to leave.
Human rights defenders stated about the political motivation of the case from the very beginning of the legal proceedings, and took efforts to get Mr. Kavalenka released from custody. Before the beginning of the trial, the Human Rights Center Viasna issued an official statement concerning the political persecution of Siarhei Kavalenka.