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Court to announce verdict in Minsk bombing case 30 November

MINSK, 30 November (BelTA) – Minsk bombers Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalev are expected to hear out their sentence today for the bombing of the Oktyabrskaya metro station in Minsk on 11 April 2011, BelTA has learnt.

The action into this high-profile case was opened at the Minsk House of Justice on 15 September. The court hearing that lasted for nearly two months was presided by First Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Court Alexander Fedortsov. A two-week hiatus took place to adjust the sentence. The proceedings were covered by the Belarusian and foreign media.

Dmitry Konovalov is accused of committing over 30 crimes, including two explosions in Vitebsk in 2005, an act of terror at the Minsk City Hero Memorial in 2008 and bombing the Oktyabskaya metro station on 11 April 2011. His actions resulted in loss of life and serious injuries. He is also accused of illegal handling of explosives, particularly malicious behavior, deliberate destruction and damage of property in a way dangerous for the public.

Vladislav Kovalyov is accused of taking part in more than 10 unlawful acts, namely of being accomplice to an act of terrorism, particularly malicious behavior, deliberate damage of property in a way dangerous for the public, illegal handling of explosives, concealment of a criminal, failure to report a crime.

Deputy Prosecutor general Aleksei Stuk stressed: “The prosecution finds them (Konovalov and Kovalev – BelTA’s note) extremely dangerous for the society and state.” The prosecution asks for an exceptional measure of punishment for both of them – death penalty.

Dmitry Lepretor, Dmitry Konovalov’s lawyer, asks to clear the defendant from the charges in Vitebsk episodes due to weak evidence in the case. As regards the blasts in 2008 and 2011, the defender admits Konovalov’s guilt. Dmitry Lepretor also asks the court to avoid capital punishment in a bid to demonstrate by an example of such a high-profile case that Belarus is on its way to abolish the death penalty.

Stanislav Abrazei, the second lawyer, takes up a fairly radical position and asks for a full acquittal of his client Vladislav Kovalev. At the court hearings he paid much attention to the terror act on 11 April bringing in the evidence of the innocence of both the defendants.