Two men sentenced to death in Čerykaŭ
Two men, Illia Kostseu and Stanislau Kostseu, have been sentenced to death at a visiting session of the Mahilioŭ Regional Court held today in the town of Čerykaŭ. Judge Mikhail Melnikau found the two brothers, aged 21 and 19, respectively, of killing their former school teacher and setting her house on fire to destroy the evidence.
In their last statements, the defendants pleaded guilty and said they regretted having murdered the 47-year-old woman.
The verdict is not final and may be appealed to a higher court.
“We are deeply alarmed by President Lukashenka’s interference in the case. In his recent interview for the Echo of Moscow radio station, he commented on the brothers’ upcoming trial. Earlier, the initial death sentence of Aliaksandr Hrunou was overturned, but he was eventually executed after Lukashenka commented negatively on the case,” Andrei Paluda, leader of the “Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus” campaign, said after the trial.
According to the campaigners, four people are currently held on death row in prison No. 1 in Minsk. In 2019, Belarusian courts handed down three death sentences, and three death row prisoners were executed.