Vienna, 30 November 2011 Press release

Spindelegger calls for a stop to executions

Vienna, 30 November 2011 – Just less than eight months after a bomb attack in the underground of the Belarus capital of Minsk the two accused, who are now 25 years old, were today sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Belarus. The bomb attack in April killed fifteen people and injured hundreds more. The execution of the two twenty-five-year-olds could take place as early as 1 December. Belarus is the only country in Europe to have retained the use of capital punishment.

“I am deeply upset that a death sentence has been imposed on Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov by the Belarus judicial authorities,” said Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger, condemning the sentence against the two alleged bombers of the Minsk subway attack on 11 April. “We deplore the high number of casualties caused by the bombing, but even though the two young men are accused of serious crimes, an execution will never be justified. We therefore call upon President Lukashenko to refrain from executing the death sentence and to commute the capital punishment into a prison sentence.”

“I am firmly convinced that the abolition of capital punishment helps to promote human dignity and the further development of human rights. We will therefore continue our persistent advocacy of this goal. This inhuman punishment must disappear completely from our continent. I therefore appeal to the Belarus leadership to abolish capital punishment and call for an immediate stop to executions,” said Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Spindelegger upon the announcement of the verdict.

“At the same time we call upon all other countries in which the death penalty is still used to abolish this inhuman punishment once and for all, or at least introduce a moratorium on executions as a first step,” concluded the Vice-Chancellor.

Federal Ministry for
European and International Affairs
Press Department
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