Belarusian hunger striker utterly emaciated
Political prisoner Siarhei Kavalenka, who has been on a hunger strike since 20 December 2011, is being force-fed. He has recently been transferred from Minsk prison to a psychiatric hospital of Vitsba-3 colony not far from his hometown Vitsebsk. Human rights defenders call upon the Belarusian authorities to stop the political persecution of Siarhei Kavalenka.
Wednesday, 04 April 2012, by Belarus HRH based on svaboda.org
On 2 April Kavalenka’s wife Alena met the doctor of the hospital where the hunger striker is being kept. "The conditions there are nevertheless unacceptable, because there is no proper equipment. For instance today they took his blood sample for a biochemical test, but this test could not be done in the colony, so they needed to take it to the hospital. While being transported, the blood coagulated", Alena Kavalenka commented.
According to the prison doctor, Siarhei Kavalenka is extremely emaciated. The doctor commented on Kavalenka's health condition as of 2 April: "It is more or less stable, but generally grave". Alena Kavalenka found out that on 31 March, as well as on 30 March, resuscitation specialists had been called to the colony for her husband.
"He is poured in with milk substitute Bellakt six times a day, the doctor said. They started it yesterday, on Sunday. Siarhei is getting a drip as well. According to the doctor, Kavalenka's condition is "more or less stable". The temperature is low, the blood pressure seems to be normal. But Siarhei continues to refuse food. I think if he were transferred to a civil hospital, he would agree to stop hunger strike, but now he does not trust the prison doctors. No one of the family is allowed to visit Siarhei", Alena Kavalenka said.
HR defenders urge to stop persecution of Siarhei Kavalenka
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Human Rights Centre "Viasna" call upon the Belarusian government to cease the political persecution of Siarhei Kavalenka immediately and provide him with adequate medical assistance.
"Responsibility for Mr. Kavalenka’s life and health lie squarely with senior officials at the Belarusian Ministry of Internal Affairs, whose care he is currently under", the authors of the statement affirm.
"Mr. Kavalenka’s public demonstration and hanging of the flag cannot in any way be classified as disturbing public order. This socio-political action does not display “special cynicism or blatant contempt for society” and that did not have this as their goal.
Prosecuting Mr. Kavalenka again, this time for allegedly evading punishment, is a bold-faced attempt to continue the political persecution of this opposition activist and to further isolate him", the statement declares.
Siarhei Kavalenka had been serving a three-year suspended sentence for putting out a white-red-white flag on the Vitsebsk central Christmas tree in 2010. On 19 December 2011, he was arrested with the pretext of violating the suspended sentence. The next day, the activist went on hunger strike to protest against the arbitrary detention and prosecution. Since then, Kavalenka lost 30 kg of weight. On 24 February he was sentenced to two years and one month imprisonment in a colony. He is now under arrest and is determined to continue the hunger strike demanding transfer to a civil hospital and repeal of the sentence. .
Belarus HRH based on svaboda.org