Updated at 16:11,16-01-2019

Prosecutor demands death sentence for subway bombing suspects


A public prosecutor in the trial of Dzmitry Kanavalaw and Uladzislaw Kavalyow demanded Monday the death penalty for the two Vitsyebsk residents, who stand accused of a series of bomb explosions, including the subway bombing in Minsk.

The pair were put on trial in connection with the two 2005 bomb explosions in Vitsyebsk, the bomb attack that occurred during an open-air Independence Day concert in Minsk in July 2008 and the April 11, 2011 deadly bombing in the Minsk subway that killed 15 and injured more than 200 people.

Mr. Kanavalaw is accused of terrorism, illegal acquisition of weapons, ammunition and explosive materials, malicious hooliganism and deliberate destruction of property.

Mr. Kavalyow is accused of complicity in an act of terrorism, illegal acquisition of weapons, ammunition and explosive materials, malicious hooliganism, deliberate destruction of property, concealment of crime and failure to report a crime.

Prosecutor Alyaksey Stuk said in court on November 14 that there was enough evidence to convict the defendants as initially charged.

Speaking about the date picked for the subway bombing, the prosecutor said that Mr. Kanavalaw had initially planned to commit the attack during the holiday season in early May but had decided to "hurry up" after having his fingerprints taken by police in his hometown of Vitsyebsk on April 9.

Mr. Stuk said that no fingerprints had been found in the basement of Mr. Kanavalaw’s Vitsyebsk home, where he had had an improvised laboratory for making bombs. The man either removed all fingerprints, knowing that the police would soon establish his involvement in the July 2008 bomb attack in Minsk, or just used gloves, said the prosecutor.

The images of fragments of improvised explosive devices following their explosion that were found on his camera and showed in court provide compelling evidence that Mr. Kanavalaw had been designing his attacks thoroughly, said Mr. Stuk.

The prosecutor stressed that Mr. Kavalyow had been aware of his friend’s plans to attack the subway. Mr. Kavalyow knew that Mr. Kanavalaw had brought the bomb in his bag from Vitsyebsk to Minsk, he said.

He said that the prosecution, however, had decided to drop against Mr. Kavalyow a charge of hiding a hoisting jack presumably used by Mr. Kavalyow to make bombs, as no evidence of its existence had been found.

No circumstances mitigating the guilt of the two men have been established, said the prosecutor, noting that the fact that Mr. Kanavalaw had been under the influence of alcohol when setting off the bomb in the subway was an aggravating factor.

Messrs. Kanavalaw and Kavalyow are "extremely dangerous to society and the state", Mr. Stuk said.

The mother of Mr. Kavalyow, Lyubow, told reporters following the court session that the case against her son and his friend had been "fabricated to cover the true criminals up". "Usually, boys do not play terrorists. They only play with firecrackers," she said.