Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

Opposition activist Syarhey Kavalenka detained in hometown of Vitsyebsk on charge of uttering obscenities at police

Syarhey Kavalenka, a member of the Conservative Christian Party, was arrested in his hometown of Vitsyebsk on Thursday evening on a charge of uttering obscenities at police.

Police arrived at Mr. Kavalenka's home shortly after he visited the city's Pershamayski district police station to check in with a probation officer, which he is required to do on a weekly basis. On May 14, 2010, Mr. Kavalenka was given a suspended three-year prison sentence with probation after creating a scandal by putting a white-red-white flag on top of Vitsyebsk's tallest Christmas tree in early January 2010.

The officers said that Mr. Kavalenka had been charged with uttering obscenities at policemen and took him to the Pershamayski district police station from where he was moved to a detention center.

Ms. Kavalenka’s wife, Alena, told BelaPAN that her husband had spent the night at the detention center. "An officer phoned me to say that he would be held in the detention center until his trial, scheduled to take place in three days," she said.

The woman decried the detention of her husband.

"If he really committed an act of "petty hooliganism", why did not they put him on trial today to slap him with some fine? After all, we have two children, a five-month-old baby and a boy who has just started school", the woman said. "Why are the police detaining him illegally?"

Mrs. Kavalenka suggested that the authorities feared that her husband could once again fix a white-red-white flag in some public place in the city. "It now gets dark early and the police earlier asked Syarhey to pledge in writing that he would return home not later than 7:30 p.m. every day. He declined to do that, because he wouldn`t just manage to return home from work by the time. Perhaps, the police want to take vengeance on him for this".