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Rapporteurs condemn new death sentences in Belarus

Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, and Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), PACE rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, have denounced two death sentences handed down by the Minsk City Court on 20 January 2018.

“These verdicts are very disappointing, as they were handed down after the Council of Europe had received some abolitionist signals from the Belarusian authorities. Moreover, the convicts – Vyachaslaw Sukharka and Alyanksandr Zhylnikaw – had initially been sentenced to life imprisonment and their sentences were only changed after an appeal by a prosecutor had been upheld by the Supreme Court on 14 July 2017,” they said.

“Once again, we strongly condemn any death sentence pronounced by the Belarusian judiciary. Capital punishment is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which is no longer tolerated in Europe. We reiterate our call on the Belarusian authorities to introduce, as a matter of urgency, a moratorium on executions, and to abolish death penalty de facto and de jure.”