Belarus: Death sentence overturned by Europe's last remaining executioner
The President of the Republic of Belarus must introduce an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the use of the death penalty, Amnesty International said today, after the country’s Supreme Court overturned a death sentence.
'A step in the right direction has been made. It has to be followed by the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty until this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is abolished.
'Amnesty understands that part of the court’s reasoning was based on fair trial concerns. If this is the case, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus has demonstrated the important role that the judiciary can play in ensuring strict adherence to fair trial standards. This is particularly important in a country that continues to impose death sentences.'
Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Belarus
Alyaksandr Haryunou, 25, was sentenced to death by the Homel Regional Court on 14 June for the murder of a student on 20 September 2012. His lawyer appealed the verdict and highlighted violations of the right to a fair trial, including concerns about his mental health.
At the moment, two more people are on death row. Last year at least three people were executed in Belarus.
Belarus is the only country in Europe which still uses the death penalty.