Hunger strike caused irreversible damage to Kavalenka's health, wife says

2012 2012-03-29T23:04:35+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Syarhey Kavalenka's wife has sounded an alarm over the rapidly deteriorating health of the imprisoned opposition activist, saying that his lengthy hunger strike has already caused "irreversible" damage to his internal organs. 

Referring to the activist's lawyer, who met with the client on March 29, Alena Kavalenka said that her husband's weight had plunged from 80 to 45 kilograms since the beginning of the fast. "Apart from this, irreversible damage has been caused to his liver, kidneys and stomach. Syarhey told the lawyer that any other prisoner would be rushed by an ambulance to a regular hospital, but no measures of the medical nature have been applied to him," Mrs. Kavalenka said. 

The woman planned to meet with the doctor treating her husband in the medical unit of the Vitsba-3 correctional facility on March 29. Mrs. Kavalenka said that she would demand her husband's transfer to a regular hospital where he could receive proper medical care. 
On Thursday, the woman petitioned the Vitsyebsk regional prosecutor to ensure that her husband receives the needed medical attention. 

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 a detention center. He has been on hunger strike since then. 

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 prison to the national prison hospital in Minsk. 

Several days ago, he was moved to the medical unit of the Vitsba 3 prison. 

According to relatives, Mr. Kavalenka is determined to continue his hunger strike until he is released or at least placed under house arrest. 

Mr. Kavalenka's appeal against his prison sentence is scheduled to be heard in the Vitsyebsk Regional Court on April 10.