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    EU Condemns Executions in Belarus and Prepares Further Sanctions

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    European Union leaders comdemn the executions of 25-year-olds Dmitry Konovalov and Vladislav Kovalyov accused of bombing the subway station in Minsk in 2011. There will be further sanctions.

    A strong reaction from the European Union to the executions of two young men in Belarus.They're accused of orchestrating a subway bomb attack in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in spring of last year.

    The two men were executed last week, mere days after Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had refused to pardon them, despite pleas from the international community for clemency.

    [Barbara Lochbihler, Chair of HR Subcommittee of the European Parliament]:
    “So I strongly condemn these executions. The death penalty generally is a very cruel and inhuman treatment and it should be abolished. And in this case, when we look at how the irregularities have been in the investigation and also in the court case itself, it is especially unjust.”

    One of the convicted men, Kovalyov, told the court he had never confessed - and had only agreed to testify against his friend after hearing his screams from a nearby jail cell.

    [Laima Liucija Andrikiene, Member of the European Parliament]:
    “Even victims of those terrorist attacks had very serious doubts if those two young men were guilty.”

    Belarus is the only country in Europe to retain the death penalty. And the EU is asking that the practice be stopped.

    [Barbara Lochbihler, Chair of HR Subcommittee of the European Parliament]:
    “Our main demand should be that the death penalty should be abolished. And to do this, first we ask for a moratorium.”

    The European Parliament will vote on a new resolution on Belarus next week - and on more sanctions...