Belarus is the last country in Europe and former Soviet Union that is still carrying out the death penalty. Amnesty International, Human Rights Centre “Viasna”, Belarusian Helsinki Committee and other human rights defenders in Belarus oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life, guaranteed by the Constitution of Belarus and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nothing can justify the purposeful and ruthless taking of a human life by State.
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After World War II the international community rethought the value of each human life and declared the right to life of every human being regardless of the social status. In 1971, a UN resolution was the first step towards the universal abolition of the death penalty. To date, the total number of countries that have abolished the death penalty in law or do not use it in practice is 140 out of 192.
Belarus is the last country in Europe and the post-Soviet space that continues using the death penalty towards its citizens every year. Despite the commitments as a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to "provide the public with information regarding the use of the death penalty", all information on passed and enforced sentences remains classified.
Pope Francis has changed the teachings of the Catholic faith to officially oppose the death penalty in all circumstances, the Vatican has said.
Ihar Hershankou started his hunger strike on June 27 to protest violations of his right to correspondence, after all his complaints, including to the Prosecutor General, the Department of Corrections and Belarus’s envoy to the UN, as well as many letters to relatives, failed not reach their destinations.
Iranian citizen Mehrdad Jamshidian, who suffers from acute ill-health, was detained on 14 June in Belarus. He is at imminent risk of deportation to Iran, where he may be subjected to torture and the death penalty for ‘apostasy’ and murder accusations.