Questions remain 10 years after explosion in Minsk metro killed and injured hundreds of people

At 6 pm on April 11, 2011, a train from Uruchcha arrived at the Kastrychnitskaya metro station. A few seconds later, a massive explosion on the platform between the second and third cars ripped through metal and human flesh.

Ihar Tumash was at the end of the third car at that moment. He was on his way to church service.

“I didn’t understand what happened. There was no fear. Suddenly it smelled of burnt rubber. And I saw the people standing next to me already on the floor. I was covered in someone else’s blood,” recalls Ihar, a victim of the terrorist attack and a member of the Belarusian Writers’ Union.

Alena was returning home from university that evening. It was a good, sunny day. She says she could have walked to Victory Square, but she decided to take the metro.

“I felt a sharp sound, not like a pop. It was physical pain. As if a bright light lifted me somewhere, and then as if I fell. It turned out that at that moment, I was behind the column, which saved my life,” Alena, a victim of the terrorist attack in the metro, says.

A total of about three hundred people were at the station at the time of the explosion: 200 were injured, 11 people died on the spot. Later four more died of injuries in hospitals. Two hours after the explosion, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his 6-year-old son Mikalai went down to the Kastrychnitskaya station to lay flowers.

“We are facing a serious challenge. Clearly, this is a grave challenge. We need an adequate answer,” Lukashenka said in 2011.

Only two days had passed after the explosion when Lukashenka announced that the crime was solved. However, only three months later, in late July, the Prosecutor General officially named Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou as accused of committing a terrorist act. During the investigation, 25-year-old Vitsebsk residents pleaded guilty…

“I did it,” admitted Dzmitry Kanavalau, accused of the terrorist attack.

However, in court, they withdrew their testimony.

“At the very first hearing, he refused to testify; he explained that the previous testimony was given under torture, that there was psychological pressure. Our lawyer participated only in investigative experiments, so the lawyer was not allowed to communicate, even in court,” Uladzislau’s mother Lyubou Kavaliova recalls.

Many controversies arose during the trial, says journalist Aleh Hruzdzilovich, who attended each hearing and talked to the victims. The question that still worries me is the motivation for the terrorist attack, as the investigation revealed that the explosion was conducted to destabilize the country’s situation.

“A lot of people, most of them, didn’t believe it. There were many inconsistencies. There was no real evidence that anyone saw Kanavalau with this bag, with this explosive. No real evidence was provided, ” journalist Aleh Hruzdzilovich said.

The victims also doubt that Kanavalau and Kavaliou were guilty.

“Most importantly, these guys had no motive. To frustrate, destabilize the situation… Why? Is there at least one answer?” Ihar asks.

“There are questions as to whether those people were the ones, and why it happened, what were the motives. It seems that it is not completely clear to me,” Alena adds.

Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou were sentenced to the death penalty. In March 2012, they were executed.

Maryla Dakutska, Belsat

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