Suspicion surrounds Belarus metro bombing verdict

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Suspicion surrounds Belarus metro bombing verdict

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An extreme danger to society or victims of a political crackdown on the opposition?

Rights campaigners in Belarus have cried foul over Supreme Court death sentences imposed on two men over a deadly bomb attack on a metro status in Minsk in April.

Factory workers Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyo claim their two month trial did not meet international standards.

The mother of one of the men said she plans to appeal in case the court made a mistake. Doubt over the verdict is also shared by one of the bombing victims, Ludmilla Zhechko, who said she found it hard to believe that two factory workers were behind the explosions which left 15 people dead and scores injured.

Rights activist Ludmilla Gryzanova accused the judges of bypassing the most critical questions:

“What came out in court was even less convincing than what the investigator and prosecutor said.”

Only a presidential pardon can now save the pair from execution which is carried out by shooting in Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko, an autocratic leader who has ruled since 1994 with an iron grip, used the attack at the time to warn of attempts to destabilise the country of 10 million. He enjoys

extraordinary freedom of powers and is in complete control of the court system.