The death sentences imposed on Uladzislau Kavalyou and Dzmitry Kanavalau in Belarus once more reveal the full heinousness of the death penalty. The most serious doubts have been raised about the two convicted men’s guilt.
Uladzislau Kavalyou and Dzmitry Kanavalau are being held responsible for a brutal bomb attack on a metro station in Minsk on 11 April 2011 in which 15 people died and hundreds were injured. The principles of the rule of law were trampled underfoot in the course of their trial: Witnesses for the defence were silenced or not admitted. Evidence was blatantly manipulated. One of the victims of the attack stated in no uncertain terms that he had not seen the two young men at the scene of the crime, despite claims to the contrary by the public prosecutor. It is obvious that the convicted men’s confessions were obtained by torture.
Uladzislau Kavalyou found the courage to give an account, during the trial, of the torture to which he had been subjected and to revoke the confession extorted from him. Despite all these contradictions, it is to be feared that the two young men will be sacrificed merely so that the regime can retain its hold on power. It appears that by imposing these death sentences the authoritarian regime is seeking to prove that it is in a position to quickly establish the truth and security.
We strongly urge the Government of Belarus to declare an immediate moratorium on the death penalty. It would be the last country in Europe to do so. In the long term, this inhumane and irrevocable form of punishment must be abolished entirely. Uladzislau Kavalyou and Dzmitry Kanavalau must not be executed. A retrial must be conducted.
Marieluise Beck , Member of Parliament, Germany; Lyudmila Alexeyeva , Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Russia; Dietmar Bartsch , Member of Parliament, Germany; Robert Biedroń , Member of Parliament, Poland; Sonja Biserko , President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Serbia; Bogdan Borusewicz , Senate Marshall (Speaker of the Senate), Poland; Anne Brasseur , Member of Parliament, Luxemburg; Arkadiy Bushenko , Executive director of Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine; Jerzy Buzek , Member of the European Parliament, Poland; Pavol Demeš , German Marshall Fund of the US, Slovakia; Deutsch-Belarussische Gesellschaft , German-Belarusian Association, Germany; Vojin Dimitrijević , Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Serbia; Muhamed Džemidžić , Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Yuri Dzhibladse , President of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russia; Annelie Enochson , Member of Parliament, Sweden; Ralf Fücks , President of Heinrich Böll Foundation, Germany; André Glucksmann , Philosopher, France; Walburga Habsburg Douglas , Member of Parliament, Sweden; Andres Herkel , Member of Parliament, Estonia; Tadeusz Iwiński , Member of Parliament, Poland; Tomáš Jirsa , Member of Parliament, Czech Republic; Nataša Kandić , Executive Director of the Humanitarian Law Center, Serbia; Rainer Lindner , Chairman of the dbg and Minsk Forum, Germany; Markus Löning , Commissioner of the Government for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, Germany; Myroslav Marynovych , Vice-Rector of Ukrainia Catholic University Lviv, Ukraine; Menschenrechte in Belarus e.V. , Association 'Human Rights in Belarus', Germany; Adam Michnik , Editor of Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland; Tamara Morshchakova , former Judge at the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, Russia; Wanda Nowicka , Vice-Sejm Marshall (Vice-Speaker of Parliament), Poland; Ronald Pofalla , Member of Parliament, Germany; Christos Pourgourides , former Member of Parliament, Cyprus; Jacek Protasiewicz , Vice-President of the European Parliament, Poland; Peter Schneider , Author, Germany; Elisabeth Schrödter ; Member of the European Parliament, Germany; Gesine Schwan , President of Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, Germany; Werner Schulz , Member of the European Parliament, Germany; Marina Schuster , Member of Parliament, Germany; Wolfgang Templin , Civil Rights Activist, Germany; Helga Trüpel , Member of the European Parliament, Germany; Piotr Wach , Member of Parliament, Poland; Uta Zapf , Member of Parliament, Germany; Evgeni Zakharov , Chairman of the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine; Emanuelis Zingeris , Member of Parliament, Lithuania