On 20 January, the Minsk City Court sentenced to death Vyachaslaw Sukharka and Alyaksandr Zhylnikaw in their retrial. They had initially, in December 2015, been sentenced to life imprisonment before an appeal by a prosecutor was upheld by the Supreme Court on 14 July 2017.
The European Union holds a strong and principled position against the death penalty, which is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life. The death penalty does not serve as a deterrent to crime, and errors, inevitable in any legal system, become irreversible.
We expect the remaining death sentences in Belarus, which is the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to be commuted and a moratorium on the death penalty introduced as a first step towards its abolition.