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Rapporteur condemns two death sentences issued in Belarus

Titus Corlăţean (Romania, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, has denounced a judgment of 10 January 2020 of the Mahilyow Regional Court (Belarus) pronouncing two death sentences for brothers Ilya and Stanislav Kostev, aged 21 and 19, for stabbing to death their former school teacher.

“While I have great sympathy for the family of the victim, I am very disappointed that the Belarusian judiciary continues to apply the death penalty. Last year, it handed down three death sentences and, according to reliable sources, four individuals are now on ‘death row’,” Mr Corlăţean said.

“This situation goes against European human rights standards, which prohibit the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, regardless of the gravity of the offence and the public interest in imposing a proportionate sanction,” he added.

“Therefore, I urge once again the Belarusian authorities to introduce a moratorium on the death penalty, as a first step towards its full abolition. It is the only way forward to improve Belarus’s relations with the Council of Europe,” Mr Corlăţean concluded.

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The judgment of the Regional Court is not final and can be appealed to the Supreme Court.