Another two defendants in the same criminal case were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment: 24 years in penal colony with confiscation of property and 22 years and one month in security colony with confiscation of property. The verdict can be appealed in the Supreme Court of Belarus.
We are reminding that two more people in Belarus are currently on death row awaiting execution. Earlier this year, 33-year-old Gomel resident Siarhei Vostrykau has been executed.
Since 1990, more than 400 people have been sentenced to death in Belarus. During all this time the death penalty was commuted to a prison term only for one convicted.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the European Union called on Belarus to immediately establish a moratorium on the death penalty.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland deeply concerned about the imposition of two new death sentences in Belarus.
“I once again express our disappointment and sadness over the fact that Belarus continues to apply this inhuman and unjust practice, which is completely contrary to European values” said Thorbjørn Jagland. “Death penalty remains the major obstacle for Belarus to enter the Council of Europe. I urge Belarusian authorities to immediately establish a moratorium on capital punishment as a first step towards its complete abolition.”
Press Secretary of the European External Action Service Mayya Kochiyanchich said that the European Union is strongly opposed to the death penalty. In a statement posted on the website of the EEAS, she stressed that the death penalty is contrary to the declared readiness of Belarus to cooperate with the international community.
“The death penalty violates the right to life and is the most cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment” said Ms Kochiyanchich. “The European Union continues to raise these issues with the Belarusian authorities at all levels, including at yesterday’s dialogue on human rights in Brussels.”
PACE rapporteurs: Abolition of the death penalty is a question of political will
General rapporteur of the PACE on the abolition of the death penalty Yves Cruchten and PACE rapporteur on the situation in Belarus Andrea Rigoni have denounced in their joint statement the two death sentences handed down by the court in Belarus.
“It is past the time for this to end,” says the statement. “The Parliamentary Assembly has been ceaselessly affirming its absolute opposition to capital punishment, which it regards as an act of torture and inhuman and degrading punishment, and undeniably the most serious of all human rights violations.”
The Special Rapporteurs stressed that “the battle for the abolition of the death penalty is relentless and will end only when capital punishment has been eliminated once and for all from the continent, as well as from other parts of the world.”
“We once again urge the Belarusian authorities to join the European family of abolitionists by first introducing, as a matter of urgency, a moratorium on executions. Nothing in the Belarusian Constitution or legislation would prevent President Lukashenko or the Parliament from taking this step,” says the statement.