Updated at 13:48,15-08-2017

EU expresses concern over another execution in Belarus

By Alyaksey Alyaksandraw, BelaPAN

The European Union has expressed concern over another execution of a convict in Belarus.

Syarhey Ivanow, 21, was put to death in April. He had been sentenced to death for brutally murdering a young woman.

“Despite the many calls made by the European Union, another execution has been carried out in Belarus,” Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for the European External Action Service, said in a statement on May 7. “The case of Syarhey Iwanow [Ivanow], who had been sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Belarus in March 2015, is particularly disturbing in light of the fact that his complaint was pending with the UN Human Rights Committee.”

The statement also mentioned the Supreme Court’s May 6 ruling that upheld the death sentence for another death row inmate, Syarhey Khmyalewski.

The EU opposes capital punishment as it “fails to act as a deterrent to crime and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity,” said the statement. “Over the last decades, numerous countries have realised that the death penalty cannot be justified under any circumstances and have stopped applying it,” it stressed.

The statement said that the EU expected Belarus to impose a moratorium on the death penalty as the first step toward its abolition.

In a similar statement, Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, expressed regret at the execution and urged the Belarusian government to impose a moratorium on capital punishment.

A total of 407 people are known to have been sentenced to death in the history of independent Belarus. Only one of these convicts was pardoned by Alyaksandr Lukashenka.