Supreme Court confirms death sentence for Kostseu brothers

2020 2020-05-22T17:15:29+0300 2020-05-22T17:15:31+0300 en https://spring96.org/files/images/sources/koscevy-vs-1.jpg The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Supreme Court of Belarus has upheld today the double death sentence handed down to Stanislau and Illia Kostseu charged with murdering their former schoolteacher in April 2019. The death verdicts have become final.

The Kostseu brothers were sentenced to death on January 10 after the Mahilioŭ Regional Court found them guilty of killing their neighbor and setting the woman’s house on fire to destroy the evidence.

During today’s appeal hearing, the death convicts’ lawyers argued that the extreme sentence was excessive, as it did not take into account their young age (19 and 21 years old), deprived childhood (both youths were raised in foster families and orphanages after their father died and mother found herself in prison) and a frank avowal of guilt.

In contrast to the prosecution’s arguments, the counsel for the younger brother, Stanislau, stressed that the defendant was not driven by revenge and, therefore, the sentence was not fair.

After the verdict was passed, the convicts’ family was ostracized in their hometown of Čerykaŭ, including their minor nephews.

The convicts are also expected to pay 250,000 rubles in damages to the victim’s family. However, owing to their extreme poverty and the court’s choice of capital punishment, the claim will not be enforced in reality.

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