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Belarus in Focus
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24 Jan

Daniela Araya, Newspaper, February 23, 2012 (Costa Rica)

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Hungry of Freedom: Political Prisoners across the world

They are hungry of freedom justice does not satisfy, hunger and thirst that steal their breath and condemned them to suffer torture and physical punishments. They are people who have opted to hold their hunger to tell the world they are political prisoners and they do not have freedom on behalf of their ideological choices. Political prisoners, birds jailed by governments.

What are you willing to you give up for your freedom?

Syarhei Kavalenka, is a Belarusian prisoner condemned to a three-year prison sentence because of putting a white, red, white flag -official flag of Belarus before it was changed by the current government- on the tallest Christmas tree of Vitsebsk on January 7th of 2010. This fact is considered by the dictatorship of Lukashenko as a "premeditate action to disrupt public order and demonstrate obvious contempt to society". reveals on its portal that on response to his detention, Kavalenka initiated a hunger strike which remains until today -66 days later-. He lost thirty kilos on the process and today, with a skeletal body and evident weakness, remains wedded to his cause. His relatives denounce that authorities have been trying to force him to eat and also, threaten him to be hospitalized in a psychiatric hospital.

He is not alone on this situation, in Belarus journalists and political activists are imprisoned due to irreverent causes like publishing information opposite to the government, using flags or signs of their country -before the arrival of Lukashenko- or even manifest their thoughts in a disapproved manner. There, people ensure  government follows closely their steps, listen their phone calls and intervene their emails; and chase them in what we only can image as science fiction.

The Palestinian man, Khader Adnan, also was around the 66 days of hunger strike when due to the pressure of the United Nations Organization, achieved freedom. Adnan was in a prison in Israel where he was struggling to achieve due process guaranties; fair and equitable treatment and the most elemental Human Rights.

According to several international media, his attorney achieved this Tuesday an agreement with the prosecutors to release him on April 17th. At Adnan’s home his wife, two daughters and upcoming baby await him. According to the international media Al Jaazera, Israel had no real charges against him and if he would have went farther with no feeding he will probably had passed away.

"From the 4357 Palestinian imprisoned in 18 prisons in Israel and Cisjordania, 309 are under this legal figure -also called house arrest- Besides, more than a third -1578- are condemned to a minimum of ten years of prison, while 526 are in penalty of life imprisonment", reads

In this very same publication it is estimated that 7000 Palestinian Prisoners have passed through jails in Israel since 1968 and six have already died due to hunger strikes.

In the American Continent the situation does not differs, in Cuba the political prisoners "feed the jails of the corners of the country “ and in January one of them perished because of his "hunger of freedom".  Wilman Villar Mendoza, is barely one of the pile of names that are added to the prisoners that face the reluctant Cuban regime.

Villar was condemned to a four-year sentence for public disorder and resistance.  “ Disguised" reasons as several Human Rights NGOs denounce.  He didn’t make it to the 50 days of hunger strike. According to a publication of the "New Herald" this man was thrown in a single jail without any clothing or water because he refused to wear the prisoners uniform.

In addition to this death it’s added the Orlando Zapata’s on 2010, fact that trigger the international pressure to enhance the release of 75 Cuban dissidents that were taken with their families to Spain by Cuban Catholic Church mediation.

The political prisoners exist in every continent and latitude, plague that extends in the world as well as the restriction of Human Rights and personal freedoms. To this black list are added Sri Lanka, North Korea, Myanmar, China and Burma, but the list goes on and on.

Article originally published  (in Spanish):


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