Statement by the Spokesperson on a death sentence in Belarus (20/03/2015)

Brussels, 19/03/2015

A death sentence was handed down on 18 March to Mr Siarhei Ivanou by the Homyel Regional Court of the Republic of Belarus.

Mr Ivanou's right to appeal must be fully guaranteed.

We are conscious of the serious nature of the crimes for which Mr Siarhei Ivanou was convicted and extend our deepest sympathy to the family of the victim of these crimes. Nevertheless, the European Union opposes capital punishment in all cases as it cannot be justified under any circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

The European Union urges Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its universal abolition.