Syarhey Kavalenka receives no medical attention, wife says

2012 2012-04-18T15:21:31+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Doctors at the Navinki psychiatric hospital are doing nothing to help Syarhey Kavalenka recover after his debilitating hunger strike, the wife of the 37-year-old opposition activist told BelaPAN on Tuesday.

"Syarhey's lawyer visited him today and told me that he is still very thin," Alena Kavalenka said. "His mood has improved but doctors do not help him in any way or check his internal organs. As far as I know, he hasn't even been weighed or had any tests."

Mrs. Kavalenka added that she knew nothing about a comprehensive psychiatric examination her husband was expected to undergo.

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 was on hunger strike since his arrest and is said to have 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.

On April 10, 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 last week that Mr. Kavalenka had voluntarily ended his hunger strike.

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