16 November 2018, Friday, 15:46
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Hunger-striking opposition activist Kavalenka gets married in Vitsyebsk jail

Hunger-striking opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka and Alena Kavalenka got married in a detention center in Vitsyebsk on Friday.

The ceremony took place in the detention center's meeting room in the presence of four policemen. Mr. Kavalenka, a 37-year-old member of the Conservative Christian Party (CCP), was led into the room in handcuffs.

"I wasn't allowed to bring along our two little children," Mrs. Kavalenka told BelaPAN. "I was terrified when I saw Syarhey. He was not just absolutely white. He had already broken out in yellow spots. He needs urgent medical help to gradually resume eating. He clearly has problems with internal organs."

Mrs. Kavalenka said that the policemen had prevented her from asking about Syarhey's health and even telling him that CCP Chairman Zyanon Paznyak, human rights defenders and EU officials had called on him to stop his hunger strike.

"Syarhey and I got divorced in September 2010 to prevent pressure on our family because of his criminal case," Mrs. Kavalenka said. "But I want to emphasize that Syarhey is a good father. And we've remarried so I can meet with him, deliver parcels to him and so on."

In May 2010, Syarhey Kavalenka, a member of the Conservative Christian Party, was sentenced to a suspended three-year prison sentence after he put a white-red-white flag on top of Vitsyebsk`s tallest Christmas tree in early January 2010.

On December 19, 2011, Mr. Kavalenka was arrested at home on a charge of violating probation rules four times and placed in the detention center. He has been on hunger strike since then. On January 16, he started to be force-fed through a tube.

His trial is scheduled to begin in the Pershamayski District Court in Vitsyebsk on February 21.