UN calls on Belarus for death sentence moratorium

Friday, April 25, 2014

UN calls on Belarus to stop carrying out death sentences

UN calls on Belarus to stop carrying out death sentences

GENEVA - The U.N. on Friday urged Belarusian authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on death sentences and to refrain from carrying out further executions.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur for human rights in Belarus Miklos Haraszti's appeal follows the reported execution of Pavel Sialiun and a Supreme Court ruling last week upholding the death sentence against Eduard Lykau, both convicted for murder. 

Belarus is the only European country that still retains the death penalty.

Haraszti said: "No reports of executions for a considerable time, despite the imposition of several new death sentences, had filled the international community with the hope that Belarus had started a practical moratorium, which would then lead to a legal moratorium, and finally to the abolition of capital punishment." 

"Information on death sentences remains limited for relatives and the general public and there is a lack of transparency about persons held on death row, and an inadequate procedure for appeals," Haraszti said, claiming the way death sentences are carried in out in Belarus is a source of concern. "Annual statistics on the use of the death penalty are not available, nor are the names of most of those who have been already executed."

"Those facing the death penalty, and their relatives, are not informed of the scheduled date of execution; following the execution, the relatives are not informed of where the body is buried," said Haraszti.

Last year, courts in Belarus reportedly sentenced four people to death for murder.

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