Belarus isn’t the first country to suffer from terrorism. We can recall the explosions in London (on the bus and metro), in Moscow (in residential houses, on the metro and at the airport) and in Spain (on trains and at the airport). Investigations into these terrorist acts took years and months, although conducted by the best professionals. Unfortunately, they had much greater experience in such cases compared to our own Belarusian specialists.
We aren’t likely to receive the answers to all questions regarding the explosion on the Minsk metro as quickly as we’d like but we have enough reliable facts, as have been already made available to the public. General Prosecutor Grigory Vasilevich hopes that the inquiry will be complete within two months.
Informing journalists of progress so far, Mr. Vasilevich pointed out that the investigation into the explosion on the night of July 4th, 2008, which occurred in Pobediteley Avenue, involved over 117,000 people being questioned, with over 80,000 mobile subscribers’ call accounts checked, having been close to the explosion site at the time.
During the investigation, dozens of other crimes were solved as a result. 854 people were questioned as witnesses. In fact, 70 were given polygraph tests and 509 searches were conducted. There were 863 expert investigations made, alongside 75 inspections at the accident site and 93 checks of evidence on the spot. Moreover, around 500 investigative requests were sent, including 10 internationally.
The General Prosecutor notes that, last November, the investigation of the 2008 case was extended until May 2011, as interrogating officers felt they were making progress. According to Mr. Vasilevich, over 2m people have been fingerprinted in connection with the crime; although the procedure was legally justified, the action has been condemned as violating human rights by some, restricting the further reach of the compulsory overall fingerprinting programme. If it were not for this, the fingerprints of those who are responsible for the explosion on April 11th would have been registered in the database and the latest victims may have been avoided.
The General Prosecutor’s Office is yet to reveal any new data regarding the investigation of the crime of April 11th. However, Maxim Voronin, the Deputy Head of Investigations at the General Prosecutor’s Office, underlines that the investigation continues, with some details being kept confidential. Acquaintances of the suspects are being questioned, alongside their secondary and primary school teachers and headteachers, the heads of the enterprises where they worked, and co-workers.
Interfax Agency has cited the Head of the State Security Agency’s Information and Public Relations Centre, Alexander Antonovich, who notes that ‘at the moment of indictment, all surnames will be announced’.