Don't execute Minsk bombers, Council of Europe asks Belarus

30th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

The head of the Council of Europe rights watchdog urged Belarus not to carry out the death sentences pronounced Wednesday on two men convicted of a deadly Minsk metro bombing in April.

"The crime they were found guilty of was barbaric, but their punishment should not be the same," the council's secretary general Thorbjoern Jagland said in a statement.

"Belarus is the only country in Europe which still executes people and I would urge the authorities to introduce an immediate moratorium with a view to its ultimate abolition.

"The victims of the April 11 attack and their families deserve justice, not revenge."

The blast had struck the city's busiest metro station just a few buildings away from the offices of strongman leader Alexander Lukashenko in what the authorities said was an attempt to shake his 17-year rule.

The top court of Belarus on Wednesday ordered the execution by shooting of 25-year-old factory workers, Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov, for the crime.

"I urge the Belarus authorities not to carry out the death sentences pronounced today," said Jagland, adding: "Death is not justice!".

The council has 47 country members -- Belarus is the only European state that has not signed up.

© 2011 AFP

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