About Kavalenka

Sergey Kovalenko is a Belarusian activist, member of the Christian Conservative Party BNF (Belarusian National Front). Sergey was born on January 16th, 1975, and received his education in engineering and programming. Later, he became an entrepreneur, earning money with repairing houses. He has two kids – Velentina (7 years old) and Vika (1 year old).

On January 7, 2010 – the Orthodox Christmas –  Sergey Kovalenko placed an national white-red-white flag on the 40-meter Christmas tree in the center of Vitebsk, Belarus. For that, Sergey was detained and his family has been under constant pressure from the Belarusian authorities.

For sharing his solidarity with democracy and national symbols, Sergey was sentenced to 3 years without being sent to a prison. Next to it, the Court forced Sergey to pay the moral compensation to policemen Ivanov and Politik (1 million rub), Maksimov (1,5 million rub), “Gorsvet” enterprise for damaging the illuminations (1222.000 rub) and to “Zelenstroy” (62.000 rub).

From the very beginning, human rights activist demandeds to release Sergey, as his detention had no grounds. Before the Court hearings, the human rights group Viasna made a statement calling the accusations against Kovalenko for placing a national flag on the Christmas tree politically motivated persecution.

Second time, Sergey was detained for breaking the regime of house arrest, which he was placed under. On December 19, 2011 Kovalenko went on a hunger strike to protest the accusations against him. On February 24, 2012, Elena Zhuk, judge of the Pervomaisky regional court in Vitebsk, Belarus, sentenced Sergey to 2 years and 1 month of prison. After being sent to prison, Kovalenko continued his hunger strike, which he stopped only many weeks after when he was forced to be fed by the prison officers. The hunger strike led to serious damage to Sergey’s organism. His health condition was critical, but the Belarusian authorities refused the opposition activist in medical help and in access to an independent medical expert. On April 10, 2012, Vitebsk regional court made a decision to transfer Kovalenko to a Minsk mental institution. There, he was also not given any chance to rehabilitate, and in early May he was returned back to prison.

On May 18, Vitebsk regional court declined the appeal of Sergey Kovalenko against the sentence made by the Pervomaisky court of Vitebsk. Soon after that, the political prisoner was transferred to another prison in Mogilev under quarantine – still without any medial analysis of his dangerous health condition.