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.
Amnesty International has launched an urgent action in support of Viktar Serhel, death row prisoner who lost his appeal to the Supreme Court on January 31 and may be thus executed at any moment.
The European Union reaffirms its strong opposition against the application of capital punishment in any circumstance, the EU External Action Service said in a statement following the two death sentences handed down in Belarus on January 10.
Two men, Illia Kostseu and Stanislau Kostseu, have been sentenced to death at a visiting session of the Mahilioŭ Regional Court held today in the town of Čerykaŭ. Judge Mikhail Melnikau found the two brothers, aged 21 and 19, respectively, of killing their former school teacher and setting her house on fire to destroy the evidence.