Investigative Committee examining complaint by wife of imprisoned opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka
A Vitsyebsk district department of the Investigative Committee is examining a complaint by Syarhey Kavalenka’s wife about a video of the imprisoned opposition activist that has been posted on the Internet by prison officers.
The video was made when Mr. Kavalenka, 37, was held in a pretrial detention center in Vitsyebsk, said the Belarusian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
In the complaint, Alena Kavalenka says that the video provoked her husband’s hunger strike.
In an interview with RFE/RL, Mrs. Kavalenka said that she had already been interviewed by an Investigative Committee officer over the complaint.
“I have also complained that when Syarhey was withdrawing from the hunger strike, he was not provided with qualified medical care. I don’t think that the prison officers will be punished for such treatment of my husband, but they must know that they are under control,” she said.
The video showed Mr. Kavalenka taking food, allegedly at a time when he was on hunger strike. After the video appeared on the Internet, the opposition activist started a new fast that lasted for more than a month.
On December 19, 2011, Mr. Kavalenka was arrested at home on a charge of violating probation rules and placed in the Vitsyebsk detention center. He reportedly lost nearly 40 kilograms of weight during hunger strikes held since his arrest.
On February 24, he was sentenced to two years and one month in prison. He is currently serving his sentence in a prison in Mahilyow.