Two brothers were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of brutally murdering their former teacher. The EU diplomatic office in Belarus called the sentence “the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”
Brothers Ilya, 21, and Stanislav Kostev, 19, face being shot by an executioner as they were handed the sentence in Belarus, the last country in Europe where the death penalty is carried out.
The young men were sentenced to death after they were found guilty of brutally murdering their former teacher Natalya Kostritsa. The woman was stabbed around 100 times before her house was set on fire.
The teacher was targeted after she called for social services to remove two children from the care of the boys’ sister. Ilya and Stanislav were arrested when the teacher’s stolen computer was found in their house.
They confessed stabbing her to death and throwing the knife into the local Sozh River, Cherikov town, Mogilev region. In court, the pair pleaded for mercy, claiming they were drunk during the assault.
The brothers repented and asked to give them a chance.
“Maybe vodka acted like that. I still can’t explain why I killed her. We regret their loss. We understand exactly how painful it is for them. We realise everything clearly, but what has been done cannot be changed,” said Illya.
Death row inmates’ families in Belarus are not informed about executions, nor granted the last visit. The bodies of the executed are not handed to their families and burial sites are not disclosed.
Responding to two death sentences the European External Action Service (EEAS) wrote: “the European Union reaffirms its strong opposition against the application of capital punishment in any circumstance.
The death penalty violates the inalienable right to life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
Capital punishment also fails to act as a deterrent to crime. Miscarriages of justice are irreversible. Introducing a moratorium on executions in Belarus would be a positive first step towards the abolition of the death penalty.”
Three executions were carried out in Belarus last year and a total of four individuals are now on death row.