TWO brothers aged 19 and 21 have been sentenced to death for brutally murdering their former teacher in Belarus, the last country in Europe where execution is permitted.
The pair’s final hope of staying alive is to plead for clemency from strongman president Alexander Lukashenko – but he has already publicly branded them “scum”.
Stanislaw Kostsew, 19, and his brother Illya, 21, face being blindfolded and made to kneel then shot in the back of the head[/caption]
In court the pair pleaded for mercy[/caption]
Stanislaw Kostsew, 19, and his brother Illya, 21, face being blindfolded and made to kneel then shot in the back of the head by a state executioner.
They were found guilty of stabbing teacher Natalya Kostritsa around 100 times before setting her house on fire.
Unusually, Lukashenko – who has dismissed international human rights criticism over the use of the death penalty – had revealed details of the case even before the guilty verdict.
The pair were exacting revenge for the teacher demanding that social services removed the children from the care of their sister – who Lukashenko branded an “asocial element”.
The Belarus ruler said in December: “Two scum – there’s no other name for them since they have been previously convicted of assault – killed their teacher.
“For what? For protecting two of their sister’s children?
He said: “They stabbed and cut her all through the night.
“They were killing her all night long.
“She begged, and in the end, they finished her off by dawn despite her pleas.”
The brothers were caught 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.
In court, the pair pleaded for mercy, claiming they were drunk.
“I don’t know what went wrong,” said Illya.
“Maybe vodka acted like that. I still can’t explain why I killed her.”
Stanislaw – who said he was an accomplice – pleaded in court: ‘Give us a chance.”
But the victim’s mother Vera Gordievitch objected, demanding: “Who will return my daughter?”
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More than 400 men have been executed in Belarus since the country became independent with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Luksashenko has been in power since 1994.
The EU and various international organisations have urged Belarus to stop using the death penalty.
They were found guilty of stabbing their teacher to death and then setting her house ablaze[/caption]