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The trial of Syarhey Kavalenka, who is seen here in the dock during his trial in Vitsebsk last week, ended with a new two-year jail sentence over an alleged parole violation.
Jailed Belarusian opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka has received a visit from his wife, Alena, at the Vitsebsk detention center where he is being held pending transfer to a penal colony.

The report comes as the European Union steps up its economic and diplomatic pressure on Belarus over mounting rights and other abuses in cases like Kavalenka's, which the European Parliament's president recently described as "appalling."

Kavalenka's wife, Alena, described him after her visit as "happy, but...very thin, half-alive."

"He says he's lost more than 30 kilograms," she said. "There is completely no fat layer left, but he will not end his hunger strike. He said he will fight to the last."

Kavalenka has been in detention since December 19 and has been on a hunger strike for most of the time since then, although prison authorities at one point tried to forcibly feed him.
Wife Alena outside the courtroom for her husband's most recent trial, at which Syarhey Kavalenka was ordered to spend more than two years in prison.
Wife Alena outside the courtroom for her husband's most recent trial, at which Syarhey Kavalenka was ordered to spend more than two years in prison.

On February 24, the 37-year-old was sentenced to 25 months in prison for violating the terms of his parole on an earlier conviction on charges of "illegally displaying the banned Belarusian national flag."

He has rejected the charges.

Kavalenka is a member of the Belarusian Conservative Christian Party-Belarusian Popular Front.

The expansion of EU sanctions on February 28 over democracy and rights concerns sparked tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions that further strain relations between Minsk and Brussels, which have deteriorated since a flawed presidential election in December 2010 left Alyaksandr Lukashenka in power and sparked street demonstrations.
The OSCE;s representative on media freedom Dunja Mijatovic
The media-freedom representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has called on Kyrgyzstan's government to immediately lift its block on the Fergananews.com news website.

OSCE official Dunja Mijatovic issued a statement calling on Kyrgyz authorities to ensure Internet freedom in the Central Asian country.

The website -- which is also known as Fergana.ru and Fergana.news -- was blocked by the state-controlled Internet services provider Kyrgyztelecom on the written instructions of the Kyrgyz State Communications Agency.

Another Internet service provider, Aknet, also reported receiving such a letter, although many other Kyrgyz Internet providers said they had no such information.

In mid-2011, the Kyrgyz parliament passed a resolution calling on the website to be blocked throughout the country, citing the site's coverage of the June 2010 violence in southern Kyrgyzstan.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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