RFE/RL's Aleh Hruzdzilovich attended every session of the trial of accused
subway bombers Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavalyou, who were executed
last week despite pleas for clemency and complaints that the court process was
flawed. He talks about the reasons why so many doubts remain about both the
trial and the men's execution.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says he believes the trial and
execution of the two alleged Minsk subway bombers, who were put to death last
week, was "transparent and fair."
The authoritarian Lukashenka defended the trial and execution of the two men in
a new interview broadcast on the Russian state-controlled RT television
He claimed the proceedings were "absolutely transparent from the beginning to
The Belarusian regime has faced a torrent of international criticism in the
wake of the weekend executions, amid questions about evidence in the case and
concerns about the legal rights of the convicts, Uladzislau Kavalyou and
The bombing in April 2011 killed 15 people.
Analysts have noted that the bombing occurred at a time of political unrest in
Belarus -- just weeks after hundreds of political opponents of Lukashenka had
been arrested in the wake of disputed presidential elections in December, 2010,
in which Lukashenka received another term in office.
Lukashenka has ruled Belarus without interruption since 1994, and the country
has never held an election deemed free and fair by international observers
since he came to power.
When the Minsk subway bombing occurred, activists suggested Lukashenka was
attempting to use the attack as a pretext for additional security clampdowns,
as well as an opportunity to distract the public from a looming economic
Belarusian state television reported on March 17 that Kanavalau and Kavalyou
had been executed.
The announcement came just 3 days after Lukashenka rejected formal appeals by
the 2 convicts against their executions.
The men had been convicted and sentenced to death in November, following a
trial that critics said suffered from a lack of due process and a shortage of
physical evidence linking the men to the crime.
The speedy executions, by a bullet to the back of the head, have renewed
questions about the fairness and legality of the Belarusian court process.
In the television interview, Lukashenka said representatives of Russia’s
Federal Security Service, Israel’s Mossad and the international police agency
Interpol took part in the bombing investigation and "nobody had any doubts or
questions on every stage of the investigations."
The European Union and international human rights organizations condemned the
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on Belarus on March 20 to join
the rest of Europe and impose a moratorium on the death penalty.
Belarus is the only country in Europe that still practices the death penalty.
(source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)