Imprisoned Syarhey Kavalenka granted four-day meeting with family

2012 2012-07-16T16:12:36+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Imprisoned Syarhey Kavalenka has been granted a four-day meeting with the family in Correctional Institution No. 19 in Mahilyow, the wife of the 37-year-old opposition activist told BelaPAN on Monday.

“He said about this in his most recent letter,” said Alena Kavalenka. “The meeting should last from July 24 until July 27. But I fear that they will reduce it to one day after giving Syarhey the status of persistent violator of prison rules."

Mr. Kavalenka also said in the letter that he had been found guilty of another discipline violation after receiving the status and punished with extra cleaning duties. “The prison administration decided to go all lengths to reduce Syarhey’s amnesty chances to zero,” said the wife.

She said that her husband, however, finally received a parcel of medicines that she sent to him two weeks earlier.

Mr. Kavalenka’s lawyer also received an answer to his appeal against his prison sentence. “That was a typical reply, reading that there were no grounds for Syarhey`s release as his trial complied with the law,” said Mrs. Kavalenka.

Syarhey Kavalenka, a member of the Conservative Christian Party, was sentenced to a suspended three-year prison sentence in 2010 for putting a white-red-white flag on top of Vitsyebsk`s tallest Christmas tree in early January.

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 was on hunger strike since his arrest and reportedly lost nearly 40 kilograms of weight.

On February 24, he was sentenced to two years and one month in prison.

Four days later, Mr. Kavalenka was transferred from the Vitsba 3 correctional institution near Vitsyebsk to the national prison hospital in Minsk.

In late March, he was moved to the medical unit of the Vitsba 3 prison.

On April 1, doctors began force-feeding Mr. Kavalenka with a Belarusian-made milk formula. He was said to be given the formula through a tube up to six times a day and get glucose, amino acids and vitamins intravenously.

Ten days later, a panel of the Vitsyebsk Regional Court ordered Mr. Kavalenka placed in a psychiatric hospital for a comprehensive examination, while simultaneously postponing a hearing on the opposition activist`s appeal against his prison sentence until the examination findings are known.

It was reported on April 13 that Mr. Kavalenka had voluntarily ended his hunger strike. However, the man resumed his protest on May 8 and continued it for about two weeks.

On May 2, he was transferred from the Navinki psychiatric hospital to a detention center in Minsk. His mother was told at the interior ministry`s corrections department on May 4 that experts had found him sane. A few days later, he was moved to the Vitsyebsk jail.

On May 18, a panel of the Vitsyebsk Regional Court rejected his appeal against the prison sentence.

Two days later, Mr. Kavalenka was transferred to the prison in Mahilyow.