Vitsebsk: Siarhei Kavalenka pressurized by penal inspection
Siarhei Kavalenka, a member of the Conservative-Christian Party Belarusian Popular Front punished with conditional imprisonment for hanging out a white-red-white flag on the main New Year tree of Vitsebsk, filed a number of appeals with the city procuracy. He complains about the restriction of his legal rights to work, rest and use the Belarusian language.
One of the means of moral pressurization of Mr. Kavalenka is night visits
of officers of the penal inspection to
his apartment. “They can come there for up to five times at night in order to
check whether I am at home. Nobody thinks that I have two small children. My
six-year-old son cannot have his sleep out before going to school, and my
daughter is just 5 months old. My pensioner mother lives together with us. All
of them are awoken when the inspectors come.”
Officers of the inspection also try to create obstacles to Kavalenka's work. “On 24 November I was proposed to sign a paper about the change of the regime: earlier I had to come home at 9 p.m., whereas the new timeline is 7.30 p.m. It is unacceptable for me, because I work as a private entrepreneur at construction works. Many of my clients also go to work, and come home only in the evening. Due to such restrictions I receive fewer orders. I have to support my family – I have two children, and my wife is on maternity leave,” says the activist.
Siarhei Kavalenka also wrote a separate appeal concerning the behavior of an officer of the inspection Shylina: “When I addressed her in the Belarusian language, she refused to talk to me. She said that she was from Russia and would consider my refusal to speak Russian as refusal to answer her questions. She also stated that I was to pay for interpreter's services, though it was her who needed them.” At present, Belarus has two state languages, Russian and Belarusian and all state officials must know both of them.