Belarus still only executioner in Europe and Central Asia
“In Europe and Central Asia, Belarus was the only country to execute people. The country carried out at least two executions in 2017; at least four new death sentences were imposed,” Amnesty International said in its Annual Report on the death penalty worldwide.
"What I find particularly concerning about the use of the death penalty in Belarus is the way in which executions are carried out. No notification is being given. The families of the prisoners only find out about the executions when they go to the prison expecting to visit or to leave parcels for the [detained] relative," Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty International’s adviser on the death penalty, told RFE/RL.
Siarhei Vostrykau was executed in Belarus in April and Kiryl Kazachok was executed in October. Both executions were carried out in secret. Siarhei Vostrykau’s mother learned that the execution took place several days after it occurred; Kiryl Kazachok’s mother also learned about the execution after the event.
Courts imposed at least four new death sentences in 2017: Aliaksei Mikhalenya was convicted in March, Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy in July, and Viktar Liotau in September.
At least four people were known to be on death row in Belarus at the end of 2017.
Amnesty International recorded at least 993 executions in 23 countries in 2017, down by 4% from 2016 (1,032 executions) and 39% from 2015 (when the organization reported 1,634 executions, the highest number since 1989).
Most executions took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan – in that order.
China remained the world’s top executioner – but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is classified as a state secret; the global figure of at least 993 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.
Excluding China, 84% of all reported executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.
During 2017, 23 countries are known to have carried out executions – the same as 2016.
Amnesty International recorded at least 2,591 death sentences in 53 countries in 2017, a significant decrease from the record-high of 3,117 recorded in 2016.
At least 21,919 people were known to be on death row at the end of 2017.
The following methods of execution were used across the world in 2017: beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting. Public executions were carried out in Iran (at least 31).
Reports from 2017 indicated that at least five people were executed in Iran who were under 18 at the time of the crime for which they were sentenced to death.
In many countries where people were sentenced to death or executed, the proceedings did not meet international fair trial standards. This included the extraction of “confessions” through torture or other ill-treatment, including in Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.