Brussels, 17/02/2016
160217_01_en
STATEMENT

Statement by the Spokesperson on a new death sentence in Belarus

A death sentence was handed down on 16 February 2016 to Sergei Khmelevsky by a Minsk Regional Court. Mr. Khmelevsky's legal right to appeal should be fully guaranteed.

Mr. Khmelevsky was convicted of a serious crime and we extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the victims.

The EU opposes the use of death penalty, a cruel punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent. We call on Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium as a first step towards the abolition of death penalty. Commuting the sentences of persons sentenced to death and launching a public debate on the death penalty with Belarusian society would be an important move in this regard.