Death convict executed in Belarus on the verge of II European Games

Death convicts Aliaksandr Zhylnikau and Viachaslau Sukharko during an appeal hearing at the Supreme Court. May 29, 2018
Death convicts Aliaksandr Zhylnikau and Viachaslau Sukharko during an appeal hearing at the Supreme Court. May 29, 2018

On the verge of the II European Games in Minsk, Aliaksandr Zhylnikau is executed by shooting. The coordinator of the campaign “Human Rights Defenders Against Death Penalty in Belarus” Andrej Paluda was informed about it by the relatives of the convict.

Yet the fate of another defendant in the case, Viachaslau Sukharka, is unknown. However, the record shows that the sentences are carried out simultaneously for all sentenced to death within one case.

On May 30, a lawyer visited Aliaksandr Zhylnikau in the detention facility, where they drafted an appeal to the Prosecutor General for reconsideration of the case based on newly discovered facts. Today, on June 13, the lawyer went to the detention facility in order to proceed with the appeal, however, she was told that Aliaksandr Zhilnikau "has served his sentence." The lawyer inquired if that meant that he had been executed. This presumption of her was confirmed. The official notice on the execution of the sentence will be sent to relatives by the Minsk City Court in accordance with the procedure.

Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Committee is in the process of considering an individual complaint of Aliaksandr Zhylnikau registered on December 24, 2018 with number 3082/2018.

The Committee addressed the Belarusian authorities with a request to take urgent measures and to avoid carrying out the death sentence prior to the consideration of the convict's complaint by the Committee.

“I absolutely resent this approach. On the one hand, the country wants to be closer to Europe, to be called a European country, it hosts the II European Games, and on the other hand, it does not share the human rights values and remains the last country in Europe and the former Soviet Union where people are executed by shooting," said Andrej Paluda.

In December 2015, a tragedy occurred in Minsk - a young guy and his girlfriend were found murdered in their apartment. The ex-girlfriend of the young man, kindergarten teacher Alina Shulhanava, unable to accept the fact that her partner left her for another woman, decided to punish her rival. The actual doers (Viachaslau Sukharka and Aliaksandr Zhylnikau) took it too far - they murdered both the man and his new partner. Right after detention it became known that the perpetrators were also involved in the murder of a resident of Kalodziščy, who let a room in his house to one of the murderers.

On May 29, the Supreme Court considered the appeal of Aliaksandr Zhylnikau. At first, the man got a life sentence, but after reconsideration of the case by the Minsk City Court, the sentence was substituted for the death penalty. However, the last instance at the national level left the sentence unchanged, and the complaint was dismissed. Then, assisted by human rights defenders, the convict sent an individual complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee.

The Amnesty International called on people from all over the world to appeal to the Belarusian authorities to stop the executions of Aliaksandr Zhylnikau and Viachaslau Sukharka, declare a moratorium on executions, and to commute all death sentences to imprisonment.

Book «Capital punishment in Belarus»


Death verdics in Belarus since 1990