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Belarusian Activist Resumes Hunger Strike

Belarusian activist Syarhey Kavalenka
Belarusian activist Syarhey Kavalenka
VITSEBSK, Belarus -- A jailed Belarusian activist resumed his hunger strike today after being released from a health clinic in the eastern city of Vitsebsk, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Syarhey Kavalenka told RFE/RL that he was released earlier today from the hospital and immediately taken by police to the detention center where he is serving a 15-day jail term.

Kavalenka said today his hunger strike is in protest at his arrest and the arrests of dozens of other Belarusian activists. "My protest is against the internal occupation of my homeland, meaning it is against the police leadership, the detention centers, and the KGB," he told RFE/RL.

Kavalenka, 36, a member of the Belarusian Conservative Christian Party-Belarusian Popular Front, had to suspend his hunger strike on April 5 after he was hospitalized for low blood pressure a day earlier. He had served only three days of his sentence.

He originally went on hunger strike to protest his arrests on March 25 and again on April 1.

Kavalenka was arrested the first time in Vitsebsk while holding the banned opposition national white-red-white flag to mark the 93rd anniversary of the country's independence from Russia. He was sentenced to seven days in jail for "verbally insulting the police."

When Kavalenka was released on April 1, he was rearrested immediately after leaving the jail and sentenced to 15 days in prison for violating his three-year "limited freedom" sentence.

In January 2010, Kavalenka was sentenced to three years of "limited freedom" for "the illegal display of the banned Belarusian national flag" in a public place.

Read more in Belarusian here