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.
Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, and Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), PACE rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, have denounced the two death sentences handed down by the Mogilev regional court in Belarus.
The European Union on July 21 criticized the two latest death sentences handed down in Belarus, saying that they "violate the right to life."
The Mahilioŭ Regional Court completed today the hearing of a headline-making case of ‘black estate agents’, sentencing two defendants, Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnou, to death and two more, Tatsiana Hershankova and Barys Kalesnikau, to lengthy prison terms.