Woman with brothers on death row in Belarus won't know when they die

Woman whose two brothers are on Europe’s last death row in Belarus after murdering a neighbour says her family won’t know when they are shot or where they are buried – and argues the sentence denies them a right to repent

  • Hanna Kostseva’s brothers Stanislaw, 19, and Ilya, 21, were sentenced in January
  • Told how people in courtroom clapped when verdict and penalty was read out
  • President of Belarus called brothers ‘scum’ and their appeal was dismissed
  • Their mother Natalya Kostseva was unable to attend sentencing and only contact she has been able to have with them is via letter
  • Hannah argues brothers are being denied their ‘right to repent’ for their actions 

A woman whose two brothers are on death row in Belarus after being found guilty of murder has told how her family won’t know when they are shot – or where they are buried.

Hanna Kostseva was in court when 19-year-old Stanislaw and 21-year-old Ilya, who all grew up together in Cherykaw, close to the Russian border, received their verdict and execution order in January – and told how the courtroom ‘clapped’ in approval.

The brothers were arrested in April 2019 for stabbing their neighbour to death and setting fire to her house in ‘revenge’ for her complaining about Hanna’s children and suggesting they were taken into care, reports the BBC.

Belarus is the only country in Europe which still operates the death penalty, having not been carried out in any other European nation since 1996.

Hanna Kostseva was in court when 19-year-old Stanislaw and 21-year-old Ilya, who all grew up together in Cherykaw, close to the Russian border, received their verdict and execution order in January – and told how the courtroom ‘clapped’ in approval

Hanna argued the judgement is denying her brothers their ‘right to repent’ for their actions and said killers should be sentenced to a life in prison.

‘Not everyone leaves prison alive, but you have to live through it, to bear it and then be released with a sense of repentance,’ she told the BBC.

‘I’m not justifying them in any way – they are guilty, you shouldn’t take a person’s life. In one moment, they crossed out someone’s life as well as their own and ours.’

Hanna described feeling like her own life had been ‘cut short’ when the judge read out the verdict to ‘apply an exceptional measure of punishment in the form of execution’.

The brothers were arrested in April 2019 for stabbing their neighbour to death and setting fire to her house in ‘revenge’ for her complaining about Hanna’s children and suggesting they were taken into care

‘People in the courtroom began to clap,’ she recalled. ‘Initially, just one started, then another followed, then a third, and in the whole hall only applause was heard.’

She managed to approach her brothers and hugged them through the bars of the cage they were in, and promised to do all she could to save them. She has since moved 90 miles away after being hounded out of her hometown.

However, it’s unlikely the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, granted the family’s request for clemency – something he’s only ever done once in 25 years.

In April, he told a Russian radio station that the boys are ‘scum’, adding: ‘There’s no other word for them. They have been in trouble before and have been punished.

Hanna, pictured holding a childhood photo of her younger brothers, managed to hug them through the bars of the cage they were in, and promised to do all she could to save them. She has since moved 90 miles away after being hounded out of her hometown

‘They killed a teacher – only because she wanted to save two of their sister’s children. Their sister is a nothing – an asocial element. The teacher only tried to protect the kids and take them out of the family. These two were knifing her all night.’

Hanna’s mother Natalya was unable to attend the sentencing to hear her sons’ fate due to the fact she owes the Belarus government money from when they were taken into care.

After her husband died almost 20 years ago, Natalya worked all hours to provide for her family but acknowledged she wasn’t a perfect mother, with visiting social workers noting she’d been drinking.

When Stanislaw and Ilya were 14 and 16, they were taken away from her after being caught fighting and playing truant from school.

Hanna’s mother Natalya was unable to attend the sentencing to hear her sons’ fate due to the fact she owes the Belarus government money from when they were taken into care

The brothers are being held at a detention centre in the centre of Minsk, where it is believed they will be executed

They were put into a state-run children’s home, with Natalya required to pay for their care. She still owes around £3,190 and a chunk of her small salary is deducted each month – which will continue after her sons die to pay her debt.

Due to the fact she’d missed some payments, she was not allowed to leave Minsk to visit her sons until the money was paid – meaning the only contact she’s had with her sons since their arrest has been via letter.

The brothers are being held at a detention centre in the centre of Minsk, where it is believed they will be executed. Afterwards Hanna will be sent a package containing their belongings and a note to say their punishment has been carried out.

Hanna told the BBC she ‘won’t go on living’ if she loses them, adding: ‘I don’t want to.’

Belarus: Europe’s last death penalty country 

Only men aged between 18 and 65 are executed in Belarus – women cannot be sentenced to death.

Those facing the death penalty are blindfolded and forced to kneel. They are then shot in the back of the head.

The method is similar to that used during Stalin’s rule over the USSR.

More than 400 men have been executed in Belarus since the country became independent with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. 

The EU, the OSCE and a strong of international organisations have condemned the death penalty in Belarus.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee said in 2018 that the death penalty ‘continues to be imposed and enforced’ and the country has not complied with its requests for a delay in sentencing or execution in six recent cases.

It also condemned the practice of not informing relatives of the date execution and not allowing them to bury the body as ‘traumatic’ and ‘inhumane treatment.’

That same year, Amnesty International said only action by President Lukashenko could ban the death penalty in Belarus.

There have been suggestions a referendum should be held but a spokeswoman for the organisation said: ‘As history shows, a majority of the population are in favour of retaining the death penalty.’

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Mary Pat Gleason, A Cinderella Story and Mom Actress, Dies at 70




"Very sad to learn one of my favorite character actresses, Mary Pat Gleason, passed away yesterday aged 70. In her decades-long career, she guest-starred on so many popular shows, including ER, Friends, Will and Grace Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives and mom. RIP," one fan wrote.

"Just heard the very sad news about Mary Pat Gleason. She was a wonderful character actress who you might remember from The Middle Man Series," another said.

"R.I.P. Mary Pat Gleason. Thanks for the memories… May they always be a blessing," another fan tweeted.

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Girl, 16, ‘hacked to death with machete by her two brothers after confessing to affair with 45-year-old relative’ – The Sun

A 16-YEAR-OLD girl has been hacked to death with a machete by her two brothers after allegedly confessing to an affair with a 45-year-old relative.

Rosmini binti Darwis was killed on the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia, last month in a rare example of a so-called honour killing.

Her brothers, Rahman, 30, and Surianto, 20, have been charged with her murder.

The local police chief, Wawan Sumantri, said: "The suspects said they were outraged when their sister admitted she had sex with a man who is their distant relative.

"This is a case of honour killing."

The young girl had been vomiting and suffering from fainting spells for a few weeks and her family – thinking she might be "possessed" – decided to send her to a shaman instead of a doctor, police said.

Learning of her illness, Rosmini’s cousin Usman came to pay her a visit, according to South China Morning Post.

Her eldest brother, Rahman, 30, accused their cousin of using black magic on his sister, police said.

'HONOUR KILLING'

When Rosmini admitted she was in a relationship with her cousin – which Usman denied – the situation got worse.

The younger brother reportedly attacked Usman with a log, after which he fled, The Times reports

The brothers then briefly abducted a young neighbour and demanded that he marry their sister, but he refused.

When they returned home, Rosmini's brothers hacked her to death with a machete and a wooden log as family members and neighbours watched, according to police.

The local police chief said the girl "surrendered herself to her fate" – adding "it could not be proved" whether she had any sexual relations with Usman.

Both men and women can be victims of honour killings, although women are more commonly targeted.

The killers usually justify their actions by claiming that the victim has brought dishonour upon the family name or prestige.

The United Nations estimates that about 5,000 women and girls worldwide die every year in such killings.

Honour killings occur from time to time among conservative Muslim communities in South Asia and the Middle East, but they are almost unknown in Indonesia.

The Islam practised in Indonesia – where 90 per cent of its 250 million people are Muslims – is generally considered more tolerant than other forms practised in the Middle East and Pakistan.

In the past 25 years, however, stricter practices have been established.

In Aceh, Indonesia’s most devout province, Sharia laws – which punish offences including consuming alcohol and, for women, wearing tight clothes or failing to wear a headscarf – have been enforced by the police.

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UK coronavirus death toll grows by 157 in 24 hours in England alone as 12-year-old among latest victims – The Sun

CORONAVIRUS fatalities in the UK have risen to at least 36,550 after 157 more deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours.

The youngest victim was aged just 12, Government officials say.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The refers to those who have died in all settings – including care homes, hospices and the wider community.

Those whose deaths were reported today were aged between 12 and 100.

Seven of the 157 patients, who were aged between 57 and 88, had no known underlying health condition.

In Scotland, 16 further deaths were confirmed, taking the total to 2,261.

A further six people have died with Covid-19 in Wales, bringing the total to 1,260.

One person died in Ireland.

Yesterday, Government officials confirmed another 351 people had died across the UK, while on Thursday, 338 more deaths were logged.

However, data suggests Britain's overall death toll from the virus is far higher than the total reported by the Government so far – and has already passed 45,000.

The number of cases are falling across the country, despite more people being tested for the killer bug.

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'Exceptional Father' of 3 Dies After Freak Dirt Bike Accident: He 'Made the World a Better Place'



"Corey was riding his dirtbike on a track in Southern California and was not going overly fast," Menath explained in the post. "He just hit a bump and ended up falling off his bike and breaking his neck."

After the accident, Menath said Corey was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he "fought for a few long days." Unfortunately, his condition did not improve, but Corey did have the ability to say goodbye to his wife, Alison, Menath said.

"He was able to mouth 'I love you' to Alison before he passed," he wrote on Facebook. "He loved his family more than anything I can put into words. It was unconditional and everlasting love."

Because Corey was the sole provider for Alison and their three children — Cason, 5; Reese, 4; and Henry, 2 — their loved ones set up GoFundMe pages to financially support the family as they adjust to a new, heartbreaking reality.

"We are raising money to support his young family with the hopes that we can help meet a financial goal to allow Alison to raise her kids at home at least until they are all school-age," Stephanie explained on the page. "We know Corey would have wanted that (he was the sole breadwinner). He has left a giant hole in all our hearts."

So far, the campaigns have raised over $170,000 combined. (Vesco's fundraiser exceeded its initial $150,000 goal, while Stephanie's is currently working its way toward a $25,000 goal.)

Many expressed their heartbreak on social media and wrote touching tributes about how much Corey loved his wife and children.

"The world lost an incredible guy last week. Corey Ryan Jarnagan ….an advocate of good in our community, a friend, an adoring husband, and an amazing father," wrote Alison's friend, Courtney Stevens.

"Family was everything to Corey," Stevens added. "He lived and loved intensely, adored Alison, and his greatest joy was being a father."

Added Vesco on the GoFundMe page: "Corey was the ultimate 'family man.' His true passion was his wife and kids and he was an exceptional father and husband. The best of the best."

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Little Richard to Be Laid to Rest at His Alma Mater Oakwood University




Onstage, his act was far ahead of its time: He tore off his clothes, leaped upon the piano, and embraced androgyny long before the likes of Mick Jagger, Elton John, and David Bowie.

He continued his music career through the '70s, but he eventually took a break due to health problems and his desire to return to Evangelism.

By the late '80s, he was back in the spotlight performing, and in 1986, Richard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2000, his life was played out in a historical drama called Little Richard.

Richard continued performing until 2016, collaborating with artists including Jon Bon Jovi and Elton John, and headlined shows across the country.

On April 28, 2016, Richard's friend, Bootsy Collins, wrote on Facebook in a since-deleted post that the musician was "not in the best of health" and needed "all the Funkateers to lift him up," according to Rolling Stone.

Richard then remained out of the spotlight, living in downtown Nashville, until his final days.

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Spoilers: Death trauma for the Beales in EastEnders

The Beale clan have been through more than most in EastEnders, but there’s more heartache ahead for the family in question, as the anniversary of Lucy’s (Hetti Bywater) death approaches, and emotions are running high as a result.

Long-time viewers will know that Ian’s (Adam Woodyatt) daughter Lucy died back in 2014 — as part of the iconic ‘Who Killed Lucy?’ storyline — and the death of the young girl ripped the clan apart, as the truth came to light almost a year later, when it was revealed that Bobby (Clay Milner Russell) had murdered his sister.

With Peter (Dayle Hudson) having gone off to New Zealand, the rift in the family never had a chance to heal, and — even with the young man having returned to the Square — there’s still a degree of awkwardness present when he’s in Bobby’s company.

In the coming episodes, the anniversary of Lucy’s demise approaches, and the Beales all rally round Peter — given that this is the first anniversary he’ll actually be with his loved ones.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=VVUMHD6iw_4%3Fversion%3D3%26rel%3D1%26fs%3D1%26autohide%3D2%26showsearch%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26iv_load_policy%3D1%26wmode%3Dtransparent

However, it all proves too much for him, and he rushes off — something which leaves Bobby gutted.

Will the two siblings ever be able to move on?

One to watch: Tuesday 19 May at 8pm on BBC One.

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Beyoncé and Megan Thee Stallion Post Tributes to the Rapper's Late Mother on Her Birthday



Speaking more on the incredible women who influence her today, Megan told PEOPLE: “I literally watched my mom and my grandmother get up and go to work every single day. My big mama owned three houses in South Park [Houston]. She was going hard, working to provide for our family, so I’ve always seen her drive."

"I’ve always seen strong women making it work, so I’ve always wanted to have that same drive the women in my family have," the star added. "I know I get a lot of my strength from my mother and both of my grandmothers.”

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Ashley 'Minnie' Ross' Little Women Costars 'in Tears' over Her Death: 'My Heart Is Broken'


The stars of Little Women: Atlanta are in shock after Ashley "Minnie" Ross' sudden death.

The reality star was the victim of a hit-and-run car crash on Sunday and died on Monday night, her publicist confirmed to PEOPLE.

A rep for the show told PEOPLE that Ross was "the most beautiful, kind, giving, generous human ever," and was "adored by cast and crew because she always wore her heart on her sleeve." Tributes from the cast have also been pouring in, including a particularly raw and emotional post from her longtime costar Amanda Salinas.

"As I'm writing this I'm in tears I can't believe it my Minnie!!!! Why did they take you away from us!!!! WHY!!!!!" Amanda wrote on Instagram. "It always seems like we have all the time in the world, only to realize how fleeting it really is. I wish we had more time to do and say the things we saved for later which along with you is gone forever 💔 I promise to keep you alive in my memories and be there for your mama @grneyes4life and aunt."

"You were more than our best friend you were our big sister and still is!!! I still can't believe this man why man why!!!! I love you so much !!!!" she continued. "My heart is broken 😭💔 Rest In Peace my love @msminnielwa #teamminnie #prayforhermamaplease #myminnie #bestfriends #sisters #realfriends #heartbroken."

Amanda's twin Andrea Salinas also remembered her late friend, along with Shirlene "Juicy" Pearson.

"Minnie why did you have to leave us so soon !!?? You were such a great friend / mama bear to us since the day we meet in LA To film the pilot shoot for the show omg i can't believe this!! 💔 We are going to MISS YOU may you Rest In Peace my Minnie 😭💔," Andrea wrote. "#teamminnie #family #sistersforlife #bff @msminnielwa."

Tiffany "Monie" Cashette, another original Little Women: Atlanta star, also posted in Ross' honor.

"I still can't believe I'm saying RIP @msminnielwa right now," she wrote. "We may have not always seen eye to eye but we still was there for each other when it mattered the most. Love you girl. ❤️🙏🏽😭 #restinheaven."

And Little Women: LA's Tonya Banks also paid tribute on Instagram, writing: "Ms Minnie you will be missed RIH girlie. My condolences to her friends and family 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 #LWATL #Lifetime #msminnie #gonetosoon."

Originally from Tennessee, Ross, a former hair stylist, kicked off the Atlanta spinoff of the hit Lifetime show alongside castmates Briana Barlup, Emily Fernandez, Cashette and the Salinas twins.

According to her personal publicist Liz Dixson, the TV star was gravely injured when the car she was in collided with another vehicle near Old National Hwy in Atlanta around 11 p.m. on Sunday.

Ross succumbed to her injuries the following day at Grady Memorial Hospital at around 10:30 p.m., Dixson said. She is survived by her mother Tammy Jackson, her aunt Veronica Deloney, her uncle John Deloney and her grandmother Rose Deloney.

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Nursing Home Worker Accused of Stealing Diamond Ring & Credit Card from Woman Who Died of Coronavirus



Daniels was working as a temporary employee at the Carillon at Belleview Station senior living center in Denver, according to the affidavit. The facility did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The affidavit stated that after she died on April 15, Gust's family noticed "that there had been activity on several credit cards following her death." The fraudulent charges were estimated to be about $3,000.

On April 20, Denver police discovered the ring at a local pawn shop and believed that Daniels was the one who had pawned the jewelry. It had been valued at more than $13,000, according to the affidavit.

The Denver Police Department declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE beyond providing the arrest affidavit.

It was not immediately clear if Daniels has a lawyer.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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