Siarhei Kavalenka

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Siarhei Kavalenka after his long term hunger-strike in a cage in a court room

Siarhei Kavalenka (Belarusian: Сяргей Каваленка, born January 16, 1975) is a Belarusian political activist and member of the Conservative Christian Party sentenced for 2 years in prison after placing a white-red-white flag on top of a Christmas tree in Vitsebsk.

Flag placing in Vitsebsk[edit]

White-red-white flag paced by Siarhei Kavalenka on top of a Christmas tree in Vitsebsk.

On January 7, 2010, Kavalenka climbed atop a Christmas tree in the centre of his native Vitsebsk and placed the historical Belarusian white-red-white banner on top of it. The white-red-white banner has been used by the Belarusian independence and pro-democracy movement since 1917 and has been the official flag of Belarus in 1918 and 1991-1995. It is now widely used as a symbol of the opposition to president Alexander Lukashenka.

The court gave Kavalenka three years of suspended sentence.[1] The trial got wide coverage in independent Belarusian media. Human rights groups stated that the court's decision has been politically motivated.[2] Nasha Niva, a major independent newspaper, placed Siarhey Kavalenka among the most notable people of Belarus in 2010 as the Hero of the Year.[3]

Prison sentence[edit]

Siarhei Kavalenka after his long term hunger-strike in a cage in a court room

In late 2011 Kavalenka was again arrested and accused of violating the conditions of his suspended sentence. As a protest against the arrest, on 19 December 2010 he started a hunger strike. The hunger strike was interrupted by force-feeding on 16 January 2012.[4]

Siarhei Kavalenka after his long term hunger-strike in a cage in a court room

On February 24 Kavalenka was sentenced to 25 months of prison by judge Elena Zhuk and prosecutor Dmitry Lutov.[5]

References[edit]

See also[edit]