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PACE rapporteurs call on the Belarusian authorities not to execute Henadz Yakavitski

Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the situation in Belarus, and Marietta Karamanli (France, SOC), PACE General Rapporteur on the abolition of the death penalty, said they were appalled by the death sentence on Henadz Yakavitski handed down by the Minsk Regional Court in Belarus on 5 January and urged the authorities not to carry out the sentence.

“Belarus is the only European country where the death penalty is still applied. Capital punishment is incompatible with the Council of Europe’s values and has no place whatsoever on our continent,” said Mr Rigoni and Ms Karamanli. “Our deepest sympathy goes to the families and loved ones of the victims but despite the gravity of the crimes committed, we hope that the sentence will be overturned by the Supreme Court,” they added.

“We urge the leaders of Belarus to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty, as the first step towards its full abolition. This decision, which could be taken at any time by the President, the Parliament or the Constitutional Court, would show not only that progress is being made in the protection of human rights but also that the authorities wish to improve their relations with European organisations,” they concluded.