Dead or alive? (updated)
Have the death sentences to Aleh Hryshkautsou and Andrei Burdyka been executed or not? This is the question incited by numerous reports quoting a publication in the state-owned “Vecherniy Grodno” newspaper of 20 July.
The report says that “two Hronda residents, 28 and 29, sentenced to death a year ago, have been executed.”
At the same time, on 20 July another state-run local newspaper “Hrodzenskaya Prauda” reported that “the criminals who murdered a family in Hronda will be executed.”
Thus, it is not yet clear whether the death verdicts have been executed or not. Human rights defenders are going to cover the issue.
Meanwhile, in reaction to the reports Andres Herkel (Estonia, EPP/CD), the rapporteur on Belarus for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has reiterated the Assembly’s long-standing and categorical opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances.
“It is with deep regret that I learnt of these executions in Belarus, a country which I cherish and which I would like to bring closer to the Council of Europe family,” Mr Herkel said. “The Belarusian authorities must cease the application of the death penalty for all offences, and immediately institute a moratorium to spare the lives of those on death row. Furthermore, I find it unacceptable that, according to human rights organisations, neither the prisoners nor their relatives were informed of the date in advance”, said Mr. Herkel.