Two death sentences have been handed down by the Mahilyow Regional Court in Belarus, to Mr Ihar Hershankow and Mr Syamyon Berazhny. The European Union is strongly opposed to capital punishment and expects that the legal right to appeal for both convicts will be fully guaranteed.
The continued application of the death penalty goes counter to Belarus' stated willingness to engage with the international community. The death penalty violates the right to life and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. The European Union continues to raise these points with the Belarusian authorities at all levels, including at yesterday's Human Rights Dialogue in Brussels.
Belarus is the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment. The remaining death sentences should be commuted and a moratorium on the death penalty introduced as a first step towards its abolition. Continued public debate in the country on this issue is vital.