Human rights defenders demand not to execute the death verdicts to Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou
Appeal by Belarusian human rights defenders on a request by the state prosecutor to execute Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou
Belarusian human rights defenders strongly condemn the state prosecutor’s request to sentence to death Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou, defendants in the 11 April 2011 subway bombing trial.
The Belarusian Constitution and the international treaties ratified by the country guarantee the citizens’ natural and inalienable right to life, proclaiming it as the supreme value.
The death penalty is meaningless.
It does not correct the committed, nor does it restore justice.
It does not result in the criminal’s repentance or conscience of guilt.
It does not stop other criminals, but exacerbates the society.
Sincerely sympathizing with the grief and sufferings of the victims of the crimes and their families, we however should state that the death penalty procedures applied in Belarus with the death convicts’ bodies not returned for burial, and the time and location of burial, as well as the time of the execution, remaining a secret, are inhuman treatment towards the death convicts’ families. Therefore, we should put an end to the escalation of violence and sufferings.
The death penalty, as revenge and a rudiment of medieval atrocity, is intolerable from the viewpoint of morals even when it is used against persons whose guilt of committing grave offences has been completely proven and raises no grounded doubts.
Meanwhile, it is evident that no law enforcement system or judiciary is perfect. Moreover, miscarriages of justice cannot be corrected after the execution of the death verdict.
One cannot ignore the fact that, according to reports by defense lawyers, human rights defenders, certain victims and ordinary citizens, the investigation into the Minsk metro explosion, as well as the entire trial of Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou, failed to be professional and convincing.
Observers report serious procedural violations during the preliminary investigation and the judicial examination. The defendants’ right to legal protection has been gravely restricted. The defendants’ reports of physical and psychological pressure during the preliminary investigation failed to be properly examined. Numerous motions by the defense 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 doubt as to Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou’s involvement in the terrorist act. Tens of thousands of Belarusians have signed the petition requesting not to execute the defendants in the case.
We believe that, provided that the investigation has established Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou’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 Kavaliou’s lives should be saved because future data on the 11 April terrorist act may appear. 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.
For the sake of humanity and public security, we demand not to apply the death penalty against Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou!