Amnesty International: 2 men in Belarus at risk of imminent execution
The death sentences of Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy were upheld by the Supreme Court of Belarus on 20 December 2017. The two men were convicted and sentenced to death by the Mahiliou Regional Court, in eastern Belarus, on 21 July 2017. In the likely event that their appeal for clemency is rejected by the President, both men will be at risk of imminent execution.
On 21 July 2017, the Mahiliou Regional Court, in eastern Belarus, sentenced Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy to death. The two men were found guilty of murdering six people between 2009 and 2015 with the aim of appropriating their property. The case has become widely known as the “black real estate agents” case. On 20 December 2017 the Supreme Court of Belarus upheld their sentences. They will now request clemency from President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Since 1994 the Supreme Court has upheld all death sentences that came before its review and President Lukashenka has only once granted clemency. Amnesty International therefore fears that in the likely event that their appeal for clemency is rejected by the President, both men will be at risk of imminent execution.
In Belarus, no notice is given of the date or time of execution, neither before nor after they are carried out, and no final meeting with relatives is granted. Death row prisoners are executed with a shot to the back of the head. In accordance with Belarusian law, their bodies are not returned to their families for burial, nor is the location of the burial site disclosed.
Belarus is the only country in Europe and Central Asia which continues to implement the death penalty. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception as a violation of the right to life, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
Please write immediately in Belarusian, Russian or your own language:
■ Urging the President to grant clemency to Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy;
■ Calling on the President to introduce an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;
■ Stress that whilst we are not seeking to downplay the seriousness of the crime, research shows that the death penalty does not have a unique deterrent effect and is the ultimate denial of human rights.