Updated at 16:11,02-12-2016

EU Delegation calls on Belarusian government not to use torture against citizens

The Delegation of the European Union in Minsk has called on the authorities of Belarus to respect its international obligations not to use torture against their citizens.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Delegation expresses deep concern about "the credible reports of torture, mistreatment and inhumane prison conditions of political prisoners, including Andrei [Andrey] Sannikaw, Mikalay Awtukhovich, Mikalay Statkevich, Dzmitry Bandarenka and Dzmitry Dashkevich".

"It is also concerned about the reports of denied access to their lawyers and family members", the statement says. "The EU Delegation calls on the authorities of Belarus to take all necessary legislative, administrative, judicial and other measures to ensure the full respect of its obligations of the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law."

"The EU Delegation recalls its principled opposition to capital punishment under all circumstances and strongly regrets" the sentencing to death of Minsk subway bombing suspects Dzmitry Kanavalaw and Uladzislaw Kavalyow, the statement says. The Delegation urges the authorities of Belarus not to execute the two young men and to declare a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its eventual abolition.