On November 30, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus has passed a death sentence upon the case of Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou, who were accused of committing a series of explosions, including one on Independence Day celebrations in 2008, as well as the terrorist attack in Minsk metro on 11 April, 2011 As a result of the terrorist attack in metro 15 people were killed and hundreds were injured. In his speech, the public prosecutor demanded capital punishment to the both accused.
Human rights defenders involved in the process, said that the case contains a large number of mismatches, and the prosecution based its charges primarily on footage from metro surveillance cameras. Meanwhile, lawyers of the accused argued that even the parents of Kanavalau and Kavaliou did not even recognized their children on video. One of the attorneys even stated that the materials brought before the Court were not more than the edited film.
However, the position of the prosecution is also supported by the President of Belarus Aliaksandr Lukashenka (right), who has already stated in November 19 interview with program “News on Saturday” on channel “Russia-24” that the accused in the Minsk metro blast must to suffer the most severe punishment: “All of our society has undergone a shock – said the head of Belarus. – This is inexcusable, and as a president I think that there should be the most severe punishment for such actions.”
On November 28 Belarusian human rights defenders issued a statement regarding the demanded by the public prosecutor capital punishment for Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou.
The relatives of Uladzislau Kavaliou said they will appeal to the head of state with a request for clemency.
It is symbolic that on this day, November 30, the action against the death penalty took place around the world. Nearly fifteen hundred cities from 87 countries of the world took part in the action, meanwhile Rome hosts a Congress against the death penalty.
Human rights defenders protesting
The sentence does not meet international standards for fair trial procedures, said a representative of Amnesty International.
“We have serious concerns that both Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzslau Kavalyou were ill-treated in order to force them to confess and that this trial does not stand up to international scrutiny,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Programme Director at Amnesty International.
“Belarus has a flawed justice system and routinely flouts international fair trial standards, increasing the risk of a miscarriage of justice exists and of executing an innocent person” – he said.
The representative of Amnesty International drew attention to the fact that during the trial, Uladzislau Kavaliou recanted his confession, that was made, as he states, under pressure.He said that during interrogation, he heard the screams of Dzmitry Kanavalau and decided that he is going to the next one to be tortured. His mother said that they were both beaten during interrogation. Violating their right to the presumption of innocence, on the morning of April 13, President Aliaksandr Lukashenka said that two men who were arrested, confessed to the attack, as well as in the previous bombings in Belarus. In reality, Kanavalau and Kavaliou has not been questioned on that day.
According to human rights defender Liudmila Hraznova (right), the death penalty for Kavaliou and Kanavalau is also a method of intimidation. This indicates that the court is not independent.
“The last chance to establish some stability, peace and confidence in the future is a pardon from the president.This is a very serious step, which would give him not only the opportunity to get support, but for citizens to feel their own safety. So everything is not lost yet. Now the only thing left for anyone who follows the Constitution, and planning to stay in this country is to sign a petition in order to save the lives of these young men. As well as a petition against the death penalty. This is the most important thing. “
According to international human rights organization Amnesty International, about 400 people were executed in Belarus since 1991. Belarus has not officially published statistics on the imposition and execution of death sentences, while Belarus, as a member of the OSCE, is obliged “to provide public information regarding the death penalty.”