Lubow Kovaliova appealed for a support to have her son granted clemency during a press conference held by Belsat TV on Sunday in Warsaw. Uladzislav Kovaliov was sentenced to death on charges of terrorism.
– I want to ask all sensitive people for help in preventing this cruel punishment from taking place – she said. The mother stressed that in her opinion the court did not have substantial evidence proving her son’s guilt. The death sentence for both men is a final judgement and there is no legal path for appeal. The only hope is that president Aleksander Lukashenka pardons them. The mother and the sister hoped that the president will take into consideration lack of evidence.
The trial was more of a conversation between the prosecution and judges, observed the two women. – The defendants had no possibility to act. Even the victims of the explosion took often the side of defendants. – said Lubow Kovaliova. She is convinced her son has nothing to do with the explosion in Minsk metro station, which left 15 people dead.
Ludmila Hraznova a human rights activist, in a Belsat news program drew attention to the fact that there was no traces of explosive materials on Zmitser Kanavawav. – If he constructed the bomb, brought it to the metro station, and than detonated it from a small distance, than he should have some dust from the explosion on his body and clothes. If there were no traces of explosive, than it means he was not present at the site of explosion.”
Hraznova had also doubts about the recording from cameras in the Minsk metro. The video shows a tall man carrying a suspicious bag, while Kanavawav is rather an average-hight person.
The human rights activist pointed to the fact that the court based its judgment mainly on defendants testimonies, which in her opinion were extorted. A proof for this claim is a recording of an interrogation, where Kanavawav is in a visibly bad physical condition, he has hard time speaking and keeps repeating one sentence – that his intention was “to destabilize the socio-political situation in the country”.
Ms. Kovaliova said she currently lives with a family of one of the victims of the April explosion and they do not believe that her son is guilty. The sister of the convicted man stressed that only those who has not seen the trial and only followed the official news still believe in her brother’s guilt.
Lobow and Tatsiana Kovaliova arrived to Warsaw on Sunday to appeal in Belsat TV for pardon for Uladzislav Kovaliov. Belarusian state-owned media are now running a campaign against the two convicted men, calling for their execution. The family of the sentenced man refused to give interviews to state media, fearing manipulation.
The trial and the investigation into 2011 and 2008 explosions brought doubts of political refugee Uladzimir Bardach, former secret service officer. He told Belsat that the 2008 explosion was most probably orchestrated by the regime. It was to serve as an excuse to remove from his post Viktar Shejman, than head of the secret services, who threatened Lukashenka’s monopoly on power.
Just a day after the Mr. Kovaliov and Mr. Kanavaw were arrested, the Belarusian president announced with full conviction that they are guilty.