Prominent opposition activist Krystsina Shatsikava dies of cancer at 37

Krystsina ShatsikavaProminent opposition activist Krystsina Shatsikava died on September 21 at the age of 37 after a long battle with lung cancer.

Ms. Shatsikava is widely known as one of the main organizers of protests that saw hundreds of people camp out in Minsk's downtown Kastrychnitskaya Square following the March 19, 2006 presidential election, braving freezing temperatures. Together with hundreds of other protesters, she was arrested in a predawn crackdown on the tent camp on March 23 and sentenced to a jail term.

In June 2006, Ms. Shatsikava was fined 4.7 million rubels ($2,200) for hanging an opposition white-red-white flag on a television transmission tower in Vitsyebsk.

On December 19, 2010, Ms. Shatsikava was brutally beaten and taken to the detention center on Akrestsina Street in the wake of a protest against the rigging of another presidential election. From the jail, she was rushed to a hospital with severe abdominal bleeding. For fear of being re-jailed, she insisted on an early discharge and was discharged after three days.

Ms. Shatsikava was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2011. Despite her illness, the activist of a civil society group called Nash Dom (Our Home) frequently delivered food parcels to opposition activists serving sentences in Mahilyow Prison No. 4.

Several months ago, when Ms. Shatsikava's cancer began to spread rapidly, her associates launched a fundraising campaign to pay for her treatment abroad. However, she went into a coma several days ago and died in a hospice in Mahilyow on Friday afternoon.

Ms. Shatsikava is expected to be laid to rest near Mahilyow, where her parents live. The date of her funeral has not yet been set.

Ms. Shatsikava was a single mother of two boys, 14 and 16 years of age. //BelaPAN