Belarus sentences two to death for Minsk metro bombing

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 30, 2011 7:59 AM
Belarus sentences two to death for Minsk metro bombing

MINSK (Reuters) - A Belarus court Wednesday sentenced to death two men for carrying out a bomb attack at a central station of the Minsk metro in April this year which killed 15 people and injured scores of others.

Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov, both 25, were arrested three days after the April 11 explosion which took place on a packed platform at evening rush-hour.

The two men, friends since childhood, were said by the prosecution to have dabbled with explosives for years and been behind explosions in 2005 in their home town of Vitebsk and a separate bomb attack at Independence Day celebrations in Minsk in 2008.

Rights activists had called on authorities in the ex-Soviet republic not to impose the death sentence. Belarus is the only country in Europe to have retained the use of capital punishment. Execution is carried out by a shot from a pistol.

Describing the accused as "an extreme danger to society," judge Alexander Fedortsov said: "The court sentences (them) to the extreme measure of punishment, death by execution."

(reporting by Alexander Gegolaev; Writing By Richard Balmforth)