The Supreme Court of Belarus has pronounced the verdict in the Minsk metro bombing case.
The court sentenced the two accused of a terrorist attack in the Minsk metro to capital punishment.
Judge Alyaksndr Fedartsou, who conducted the trial, said the court was becoming more and more convinced while examining the materials of the case that “Dzmitry Kanavalau (the perpetrator) and Uladzislau Kavalyou (the accomplice) are extremely dangerous for the society and deserve capital punishment”.
The Supreme Court of Belarus came to a conclusion that Dzmitry Kanavalau committed a terrorist attack in Minsk on April 11, 2010. Kavalyou is reported to have helped Kanavalau to carry an explosive device in a flat and helped Kanavalau with the bomb.
Kanavalau was found guilty of taking the bomb to the metro and exploding it. While reading out the court decision, the Judge Alyaksandr Fedartsou mentioned names of 15 people killed and 200 people injured by the blast.
Kanavalau was also found guilty of explosion on the Independence Day in July 2008. Kavalyou was found guilty of not informing about the crime.
Kanavalau was also found guilty of making blasts in Vitsebsk on 14 and 22 September 2005 under article “terrorism”.
The fact that Kanavalau did not mention TNT as a component of the explosive device “does not leave doubts it was he who made the explosives and proves his unwillingness to inform investigation about the sources he got explosives from.
The court dropped charges from Kavalyou with failure to inform about preparing a terrorist attack of September 14 2005 due to lack of evidence.
The court found Kanavalau guilty of making two explosions in common lobbies of block of flats in Vitsebsk, an explosion on the façade of the library, setting tripwires and blasts near Hryhsany station, arson of a car. The court declared him not guilty of an attempted arson of a newspaper stall in 2004 “due to absence of proof”. The court said it was not proven that Kanavalau had been making explosive devices in that period of time.
Kavalyou pleaded not guilty during the trial claiming his evidence during investigation had been given under pressure.
Kanavalau refused to answer questions in court, but pleaded guilty to blasts in July 2008 in Minsk and April 2011 in the Minsk metro, but pleaded not guilty to the counts of blasts in Vitsebsk in 2005.
Lawyers for the defence said the investigation did not have convincing proofs of the guilt of Kanavalau and Kavalyou.
Some people injured by the blast said during the trial they had doubts if guilt of the defendants was proven.
After the state prosecution demanded death penalty for the accused, Belarusian human rights activists raised their voices against death sentence.
“One cannot ignore the fact that, according to reports by lawyers for the defence, human rights activists, certain victims and ordinary citizens, the investigation into the Minsk metro explosion, as well as the entire trial of Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavalyou, failed to be professional and convincing,” a joint statement of a number of human rights organizations says. “We believe that, provided that the investigation has established Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavalyou’s direct involvement in the metro explosion, the lives of the persons possessing valuable information on the circumstances of the tragedy should be saved for the sake of public security. Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavalyou’s lives should be saved because further data on the 11 April terrorist act may appear,” the statement reads.
The authors of the statement underline: “It is not the execution of the criminals that should be viewed as the crucial aftermath of the case, but the society’s confidence in the establishment of every motive, circumstance and persons involved.”
The decision of the Supreme Court on the case is final, without appeal. Under the law, a petition for mercy can be considered by the president of the country.