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Lukashenko to decide what to do with Minsk metro blast convicts

RIA Novosti

16:01 16/12/2011 MINSK, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has not yet made a decision about the fate of two Belarusians convicted of carrying out a bomb attack in the Minsk subway in April, Lukashenko told the Russian News Service radio station on Friday.

“I have not signed any decree yet, neither about clemency, nor about death penalty…I am thinking about it every day…and frankly speaking, I am not thinking whether to sign a death penalty decree or not…I am studying the public opinion,” Lukashenko said in an interview with the radio station.

He said he would also consider the documents, prepared by the Special Mercy Commission.

In late November the country’s Supreme Court sentenced the two Belarusians to death convicted of carrying out a bomb attack in the Minsk subway which killed 15 people.

According to Belarusian law, the Supreme Court’s decision can not be reversed. The president is the only person who is eligible to pardon the convicts if they ask for clemency.

One of the convicts, Vladislav Kovalyov, has already appealed for clemency. The second one, Dmitry Konovalov, has refused to do it.

Lukashenko, who is dubbed “Europe’s last dictator,” dismissed any allegations of state involvement with the blast.

“I am seeking ways to expose these villains who make such statements [about authorities’ connection to the terrorist attack]. Why do the authorities need it [to carry out the attack]? There should be a motive. To distract public attention? From What?” Lukashenko said.

Belarus remains the only European country that allows the death penalty. Last year, two people were sentenced to capital punishment and executed.

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