Supreme Court confirms death sentence for Siarhei Khmialeuski
The Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence handed down to Siarhei Khmialeuski after hearing today his appeal against a verdict by the Minsk Region Court.
During the hearing, a board of three judges did not allow the defense lawyers to listen to the experts who earlier said that Siarhei Khmialeuski was sane.
The court read out the case materials. The judge noted that only in prison accused spent about 13 years.
In his appeal, the defendant argues that the court failed to give proper evaluation of his statement that he had confessed under physical and psychological pressure from police officers.
Siarhei Khmialeuski also said that he was subjected to torture and other illegal methods of investigation, which amounted to a violation of his right to life and the principles of a fair trial. He says today's court is a mere formality which cannot change the sentence, but apologized to the victim’s sister for the murder of her brother.
Siarhei Khmialeuski said that he did not murder the other person, but had to confess after he was tortured by police officers.
Defense lawyer Ms. Kalinina said there was no evidence of her client’s guilt of the other murder episode (Yeliaseyenkau) and asked to commute the death sentence to 25 years in prison.
Lawyer Kazak said that the ruling of the Regional Court was groundless and its conclusion about the cruelty of the crime was questionable. She said that Khmialeuski incriminated himself under pressure from investigators. The lawyer said that if the verdict was upheld, Khmialeuski would write to international judicial bodies, because there is a violation of his right to a fair trial and protection against torture. International instruments, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are part of the legal system of the Republic of Belarus, said she.
As a result, the Supreme Court of Belarus rejected the appeal and upheld the verdict of the Minsk Regional Court.