Supreme Court upholds death sentence to Eduard Lykau
The man was found guilty of five murders. He committed the first two in 2002. However, the investigation found about it only in 2011, when he was detained for the last, fifth murder. Lykau confessed the previous crimes himself and cooperated with the investigation.
History of Murders
Eduard Lykau was charged with five murders. According to the investigation, he committed the first two in 2002 – a conflict erupted after a drink, as a result of which he killed his former cellmate and his mother.
An innocent man was punished for the crime – a relative of the dead Mikhail Hladki. He was accused of murdering his brother Viktar allegedly in revenge for killing their mother. Mikhail was imprisoned for 8 years. He served 5 years in jail and then did correctional work for seven months (a part of his wage was taken by the state). He was informed about his being innocent in in November 2013, after the Minsk Regional Court recognized Eduard Lykau as the perpetrator of the crime.
Eduard Lykau was detained in September 2011. Short before this, he killed a 74-year-old resident of the settlement of Zhdanovichy (near Minsk). According to the materials of the case, the accused and the killed had a quarrel, after which there broke out a fight during which Eduard Lykau inflicted several blows to his acquaintance with a metal pipe.
It was after the arrest for this murder that Lykau began to testify about the other crimes committed by him.
He committed the first two murders in 2002. Next – in 2004 he killed the lover of his mistress out of jealousy. He dismembered the body of the murdered and buried it in the woods near the village of Novaya Hozha. Interestingly enough, this crime wasn’t mentioned in the police reports and the body was unlikely to be ever found if he didn’t confess to this murder.
The fourth murder remained uninvestigated. In 2011 also killed his mistress from Novaya Hozha. According to the defendant, he stabbed her with a knife twice and then smothered her with a piece of cloth. He left the body in the bathtub of her home and covered it with rags. He continued living there for a week after the murder. Though he maintained relations with her for about seven years, since 2004, he wasn’t interrogated as a witness or a suspect in this case.
Thus, nine years passed between the first murder and the detention of Eduard Lykau. He told the investigators about the other four murders after he was detained for the last, fifth one.
At the trial, the man explained that when he was in Hrodna prison, he started meeting with a Catholic priest. Thereafter he rethought his life and decided to confess and repent.
In November 2013 the Minsk Regional Court issued a death sentence to Eduard Lykau. The defendant filed an appeal. He argued that he didn’t deny his guilt, but there were extenuating circumstances – he repented and cooperated with the investigation.
In her speech at court, senior prosecutor of the Prosecutor General’s Office Iryna Dudarava noted that the investigation took into account mitigating circumstances and accordingly with them Eduard Lykau got a fair punishment – death by shooting.
The coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty" Andrei Paluda said: “Lykau was issued with the most severe punishment. At the same time, the prosecutor says that all mitigating circumstances were taken into account. But a man cannot be shot thrice. Hence, the prosecutor’s shows either incompetence or simply humiliating attitude. I think Eduard Lykau told the investigation about the four previous crimes not only because meetings with a priest. In such situations, investigators always call suspects to cooperate and to give as detailed testimonies as possible, promising that it will affect the following sentence, saying it will be milder.
However, what was done to Lykau? If he hadn’t found himself guilty of four more murders, he would have been found guilty of just one and wouldn’t have been executed. As a result of such actions suspects can lose motives for cooperation with the investigation.”
The sources say that Eduard Lykau composed the appeal against the sentence on his own. Thre lawyers changed during the investigation. The last one, Aliaksandr Kliukach, represented his interests in the Supreme Court. He just stated that he supported the claim of his defendant and had nothing to add. Later he also refused to make any public comments.
New details of Lykau’s crimes
At the hearing, Eduard Lykau revealed some facts that were not known to the public.
For example, after the murder of the mother and son Hladkis he left an inscription in chalk on the wall: "Find and kill me". Bear in mind that in 2003 the other son, Mikhail Hladki, was found guilty of killing his brother as revenge for killing their mother.
Would he leave such an inscription in mother’s house? Did the investigation compare his handwriting with the inscription on the wall? Did it analyze the fingerprints found on the scene (Eduard Lykau was repeatedly convicted at that time)? Did the investigation pay attention to the fact that, according to the results of the forensic examination, Viktar Hladki was already dead when Mikhail Hladki hit him? All these questions remain unanswered.
Obviously, if the investigation were properly conducted in 2002, Edward Lykov would incur responsibility for the murder of two persons ten years ago and wouldn’t be able to kill these three more persons, and Mikhail Hladki wouldn’t have received an unfair conviction.
But if in 2011 Eduard Lykau didn’t confess to four more murders, Mr. Hladki would remain in the status of the perpetrator of one of them. Now he is a victim and can expect a monetary compensation from the state for unfair punishment.
Will Eduard Lykau apply for clemency?
At the trial, he noted that during the interrogations he was often given alcohol, as the investigators knew about his addiction. They also beat him to make him more actively cooperate with the investigation. It is not known whether these facts will be investigated.
The accused said that he had filed an appeal with the Supreme Court in order to have
time to meet with his daughter who lives abroad.
According to human rights activists, they didn’t manage to get in touch with Eduard Lykau in order to render assistance to him, including the appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee. It is still not known whether he will file a clemency petition with Aliaksandr Lukashenka.
By the way, after the trial Mikhail Hladki said that he considered life imprisonment, not the death penalty, as fair punishment for Eduard Lykau.