10 August 2022, Wednesday, 12:02
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Sergey Kovalenko was sentenced to 2.1 years in prison (Photo, video)

Sergey Kovalenko was sentenced to 2.1 years in prison  (Photo, video)

The court of Vitebsk has sentenced activist of CCP BPF Sergei Kovalenko.

He is accused of violation of probation (article 415 of the Criminal Code). The Kastrychnitski district court of Vitsebsk gave the opposition activist a suspended sentence in May 2010 for hanging our a national white-red-white flag on city's main Christmas Tree on January 7, 2010. Police officers claim Kavalenka has four violations of his probation. The CCP-BPF activist was detained on December 19 last year and has been in a detention centre. He went on hunger strike in protest.

Trial against Syarhei Kavelenka began on February 21, but the court could not start hearing the criminal case due to scuffles between defendant's relatives and police officers.

Kavelenka's relatives insist on his immediate hospitalization grounding he is on the verge of death due to a long hunger strike. They called emergency ambulances to the court several times. Judge Alena Zhuk said, referring to doctors' conclusion, the state of health of the defendant allows him to be present at the trial. Kavelenka filed several motions to recuse the judge, but they were dismissed.

On February 22, after a brawl between Kavelenka's wife and police officers, all journalists and opposition activist's relatives were ordered to leave the courtroom. Since then, the court was held in fact behind the closed doors: only the people, who did not have any bearing to Kavalenka's case, were allowed to stay in the courtroom. Relatives received information about the trial only from lawyers.

The court began to hear witnesses only in the afternoon of February 23. Four policement, Kavalenka's wife and brother were hears. One witness did not appear in court.

Relatives, civil activists and journalists were not allowed to visit today's trial. An officer of the Polish Embassy, who came specially for the trial, was able to enter the courtroom, but Latvian consul Janis Rupei was banned entry.

People were throughly searched at the entrance to the court building, women had to take off their shoes.

Alena Kavelenka, the wife of the defendant, told journalists before the trial: “The authorities are killing my husband on purpose by refusing to render proper medical aid to him.”

Hearing witnesses continues on the fourth day of trial. Kavelenka said at the beginning he would continue his hunger strike despite calls of relatives and democratic activists.

Lawyers lodged a motion to change the measure of restraint for Kavelenka, but the judge dismissed the motion again. Polish embassy officer Witold Jurasz said in this regard a decision in Kavelenka's case would be taken not in the court, but on a higher level. He added he had no illusions regarding the trial and left the court.

According to the lawyer, Syarhei Kavelenka is exhausted, he cannot concentrate and talk. Nevertheless, the judge did not allow the Latvian diplomat to give Kavalenka a bottle of water.

The Pershamaiski district court of Minsk completed hearing the third volume of the case in the afternoon and proceeded to hearing oral arguments of the parties.

Prosecutor Lyutau asked for 2 years and 8 months in prison for Kavelenka.

In his last speech a political prisoner said he did not consider himself guilty in any of charges against him. However, the court of Vitebsk, found Sergei guilty of evading previous punishment in the form of restraint, thus activist was sentenced to 2 years 1 month in colony. Activist’s lawyers will appeal the decision of the court.