Lawyer meets with imprisoned Syarhey Kavalenka

A lawyer on Friday met with opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka in a prison in Mahilyow.

Syarhey is undergoing routine quarantine procedures in Correctional Institution No. 19 in Mahilyow and will be transferred to the general section of the institution in about a week, Mr. Kavalenka’s wife, Alena, told BelaPAN.

"According to the lawyer, Syarhey continues to have health problems," she said. "In particular, he has swollen legs, which may a symptom of a cardiovascular disease. Doctors are doing tests to determine what's wrong."

According to Mrs. Kavalenka, she has drawn up a list of medicines that her husband needs and will deliver it to the Mahilyow prison after it is approved by the chief of the institution’s medical unit. Food parcels for her husband will not be accepted while he is in quarantine.

Every year Mr. Kavalenka, currently 37, will be allowed to have three brief meetings with family members and receive four parcels of up to 30 kilograms each if he does not commit disciplinary offenses.

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.