Marek Migalski, a substitute to the European Parliament’s Delegation for relations with Belarus, stated:
“In May last year during a campaign initiated by “Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights” I took over a prisoner’s godparenthood for Dzmitry Bandarenka, who was an authorized representative of Andrei Sannikov and a coordinator of “European Belarus” campaign. After the events of December 19, 2010, Bandarenka was condemned to 2,5 years of penal colony. I was pleased by the fact that he has been released from a colony on April, 15 this year.
During his staying in the colony I was constantly reminding about his current situation: I was applying to the colony’s chief, to the politicians of the European Union, as well as to Alexander Lukashenka. I fully support the godparenthood campaign for the political prisoners, that is the reason why I decided to become a godparent of Siarhei Kavalenka.
I admire his persistence in fighting for Free Belarus. Unfortunately, in a country that is ruled by Lukashenka, such simple gestures of solidarity and devotion to democratic freedoms are brutally prosecuted.
I have been monitoring the situation of Kavalenka for a long time and have taken a number of actions. In particular I addressed an appeal in writing to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus, appealed to the Prosecutor General and to the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. As Siarhei’s godfather I will continue to raise awareness of his case on the international arena, just like I have done it before.
I call to the authorities of Belarus for an immediate release of Siarhei Kavalenka and withdrawal of charge.”
The Prisoner’s Godparenthood campaign for political prisoners in Belarus was initiated by the human rights organisation Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights to support the prisoners and their families.
Siarhei Kavalenka is an activist of the Conservative Christian Party – the Belarusian People’s Front. In May 2010 Kavalenka was punished for 3 years restriction of liberty (he wasn’t imprisoned, but he had to register himself at the police station). The reason of punishment was hanging a flag of opposition at the New Year’s tree in Vitebsk on orthodox Christmas. Because of breaking prison rules, he was arrested on 19 December 2011 and on 24 February 2012 sentenced to 25 months of prison. Immediately after arrest Kavalenka announced a hunger strike, which after many weeks has been interrupted by forced feeding.
Belarusian and international human rights organisations regard Siarhei Kavalenka as a prisoner of conscience and are calling for his immediate and unconditional release.