Updated at 13:33,29-11-2021

Woman charged over bomb explosion near KGB office in Vitsyebsk


A 43-year-old woman has been charged with detonating a homemade explosive device near the regional office of the Committee for State Security (KGB) in Vitsyebsk in November 2012.

Numerous fragments of a metal energy drink can, duct tape and other physical evidence found at the scene eventually enabled investigators to identify the perpetrator, Ina Harbachova, spokeswoman for the Vitsyebsk regional office of the Investigative Committee of Belarus, told BelaPAN.

As a result of expert examinations and investigative activities, the gender of the suspect was established and a conclusion was made that she or her family members suffered from a "certain disease," Ms. Harbachova said.

Investigators examined data about all acts of hooliganism involving pyrotechnic devices that had previously been recorded in the Vitsyebsk region, she said.

A resident of Vitsyebsk who had earlier been convicted of property damage, disorderly conduct and thefts eventually came to their attention.

A search of her home revealed a notebook containing tips for making explosive substances and newspaper clips, including information about the bomb explosion near the KGB office in Vitsyebsk, Ms. Harbachova said.

Investigators also discovered several homemade explosive devices hidden inside energy drink and beer cans as well as about 100 firecrackers, an air pistol, polymer containers, duct tape, sodium nitrate and other objects that linked the woman to the crime scene, Ms. Harbachova said. The bombs were similar to the one that had exploded near the KGB office, she said.

Although the woman refused to say anything to investigators, enough evidence was collected to bring charges against her and place her in a detention center, she said.

Ms. Harbachova would not say anything about the woman's suspected motives.

As the KGB press office reported on November 12, a "primitive homemade pyrotechnic device" went off at 6:48 p.m. the previous day, breaking the glass of two windows. According to preliminary findings, the bomb was hidden inside a metal can of between 0.25 and 0.33 liters and consisted of a cardboard or plastic tube packed with between 50 and 70 grams of a pyrotechnic mixture. The bomb did not contain nails, metal balls or any other dangerous objects.

The KGB press office said that three people had been arrested after the explosion on the basis of findings of the investigation and eyewitness accounts. According to the press office, one of them, a person with visible signs of a mental illness, had earlier phoned the KGB office and made offensive remarks about Belarusian authorities.

On November 15, Pavel Traulka, spokesman for the Investigative Committee of Belarus, revealed that more than 60 people had been questioned in connection with the explosion. The one person who was arrested and held in custody as a suspect has been released following an inquiry, he said.

Criminal proceedings were instituted in connection with the incident under Part Three of the Criminal Code's Article 339, which penalizes "especially malicious hooliganism" and provides for a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.