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2 of injured party in Minsk metro blast case doubt prosecutr view

November 15, 2011, 22:22 UTC+3

The lawyer of Dmitry Konovalov, the main defendant, speaking in court during the debate, asked that a death penalty should not be applied to his client

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MINSK, November 15 (Itar-Tass) —— Two of the injured party at the hearing of the case of the terrorist act in the Minsk metro, called in question the correctness of public prosecution’s stand.

“Regrettably, I am not one-hundred percent sure that precisely the persons who committed that horrible crime will be sentenced to death,” Andrei Tyshkevich, one of the injured party, said in court on Tuesday.

He said that at the first court meeting he felt certain that the crime had been committed by the defendants but after listening to the proofs presented he has doubts.

Another person of the injured party, Lyudmila Zhechko, also doubted the reasoning of prosecution when on Monday deputy prosecutor-general Alexei Stuk asked that the suspects be sentenced to death. Zhechko said she believed “other people were behind the terrorist act.”

The lawyer of Dmitry Konovalov, the main defendant, speaking in court during the debate, asked that a death penalty should not be applied to his client. He pointed to a number of contradictions in the proofs of his client’s guilt. He also asked the court to show good will toward abolishing a death penalty in Belarus. “Perhaps this resounding trial is an opportunity to show to the world public that the Republic of Belarus takes steps toward abolishing a death penalty,” he said.

The lawyer of Vladislav Kovalyov, the other defendant, who is charged with complicity in terrorism, said during the debate in court that the defendants were not guilty.

“The tragedy in the Minsk metro made Belarussian people determined to learn the truth, and the truth must rest on proofs not inventions of prosecutors. The truth is that those who are now in the dock are not guilty of the crimes ascribed to them,” he said.

The trial on the criminal case of the terrorist act in the Minsk metro is conducted in Minsk from September 15. Two Belarussian citizens stand accused – Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov, both 25 years of age and coming from Vitebsk. The criminal case under the article of terrorism was instituted after the blast in the metro.

Konovalov, the main defendant, is charged with more than 30 episodes of criminal activity, including four terrorist acts. He is also accused of the explosions in Vitebsk in 2005 and in Minsk in 2008. Kovalyov is charged with over 15 episodes of criminal activity.

On the first day of the trial on September 15, Konovalov pleaded guilty of staging two terrorist acts in Minsk – on April 11, 2011 at the metro station and during the celebration of Independence Day on July 4, 2008. Vladislav Kovalyov, quite the contrary, pleaded not guilty of compliance in the terrorist act in the metro, going back on his testimonies given at the preliminary investigation, which, he said, were given under duress.

Fifteen people were killed and more than 200 others, among them three Russian citizens, wounded in the blast at the rush hour at the Oktyabrskaya metro station in Minsk on April 11, 2011. The president assumed personal control of the investigation and stated in a day that the terrorist act was solved.

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