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Lukashenko refuses to commute death sentences over Minsk bombing


Alexander Lukashenko has refused to grant clemency to the two young men sentenced to death over the Minsk metro bombing in April 2011 in which 15 people died.

According to Wyborcza correspondent, Andrzei Poczubut, the two men - Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavalyou [if translated from the Russian Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov] – may have already been executed.

This is despite the very grave doubts about the case expressed by many human rights organizations, including the Viasna Human Rights Centre and Amnesty International.

On 15 December the UN Human Rights Committee registered an individual report of a violation of the right to life and right to a fair trial by Uladzislau’s mother Lyubov Kovalyova [Liubou Kavalyova from the Belarusian], one of the men’s mothers. The Committee asked the Belarusian authorities to not carry out the death penalty before the case had been considered.

Observers reported serious procedural violations during the pre-trial investigation and the court examination. The defendants’ right to legal defence was seriously restricted, and the young men’s allegations of physical and psychological pressure during the pre-trial investigation were never properly examined. Numerous motions by the defence lawyers, aimed at clearing up the irregularities and contradictions of the presented evidence, were groundlessly dismissed.

During the trial, a number of victims expressed their doubts as to Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou’s involvement in the terrorist act.

Tens of thousands of Belarusians signed the petition asking that the defendants in the case not face the death penalty.

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