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Dzmitry Kanavalau (left) and Ulad Kavalyou are seen in the defendants' cage before court hearings in Minsk on September 15, 2011.
MINSK – The mother of one of the men sentenced to death for the bombing of a subway station in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, that killed 15 people has asked President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to postpone her son’s execution for at least one year.

Lyubou Kavalyova told RFE/RL that she has asked Lukashenka to delay the execution until after her son receives a respone to his appeal to the United Nations over the death sentence.

Lukashenka on March 14 rejected a formal appeal made by the two convicts against their execution.

Kavalyova's son, Ulad Kavalyou, and Dzmitry Kanavalau were found guilty in April 2011 of setting off a bomb in an underground station in Minsk. They were sentenced to death in November.

Germany has also appealed to Belarus not to execute the two men. The German Foreign Ministry has summoned the Belarusian ambassador to hear Germany's concerns.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told journalists on March 16 that Lukashenka's rejection of the execution appeal by the two men on March 14 filled Berlin with "great concern" that the sentences would imminently be carried out.

Seibert added there were "quite considerable doubts and questions" regarding the case against the two men.

The spokesman told reporters that "carrying out the death penalty in these two cases would further strain relations between Germany and Belarus."

Fifteen people died and more than 2,000 were injured in the attack.

With AFP and ITAR-TASS reporting
The European Parliament building in Strasbourg
BRUSSELS -- EU lawmakers have adopted a resolution in which they "strongly criticize the shortcomings and irregularities in the preparation and conduct" of the Russian presidential election earlier this month.

The resolution, adopted by all major political groups in the European Parliament on March 15, says the voters’ choice was "limited" and calls for "a comprehensive and transparent analysis of all irregularities with a view to strengthening democratic rules for future elections."

The text is also calling on the Russian authorities and political parties represented in the State Duma "to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the pro-democracy protestors and opposition."

It also encourages President-elect Vladimir Putin to "tone down his rhetoric against the protestors and engage with them in a sincere dialogue on the future of the country."

Deep Concern Over Kazakhstan

Another resolution adopted by EU lawmakers on March 15 expresses deep concern about events in the Zhanaozen district of Kazakhstan last December in which at least 16 people were shot dead by police.

The text condemns the violent crackdown by police against protesters demonstrating against unpaid money for oil workers and calls for an independent investigation into the events with an international component.

The resolution also calls on Kazakh authorities to provide assurances regarding the safety of the families of arrested activists.

It says the EU's diplomatic corps, the External Action Service, should monitor the trial of those accused of organizing the demonstrations.

The lawmakers also said that negotiations on an updated agreement spelling out closer economic ties between the EU and Kazakhstan "must depend on progress of political reform."

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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