Amnesty International calls on Alexander Lukashenka to grant clemency to Vasil Yuzepchuk

2009 2009-10-08T21:21:42+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en

Amnesty International has urged the President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenka to grant clemency to a man who may be facing imminent execution.

Vasil Yusepchuk was sentenced to death by Brest Regional Court on 29 June 2009 for the murder of six elderly women.

On 2 October his appeal to the Supreme Court was turned down leaving him 10 days from that date to apply to President Lukashenka for clemency.

“The Belarusian authorities must also immediately declare moratorium on all executions and death sentences. They must commute without delay the sentences of all prisoners currently on death row to terms of imprisonment,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s expert on Belarus.

Only one request for clemency has been granted since President Lukashenka came to power in 1994.

The appeal comes on the eve of World Day against Death Penalty when activists will call on the authorities of Belarus -- the only country in Europe and Central Asia still applying capital punishment -- to abolish it.

Vasil Yusepchuk may have an intellectual disability and his lawyer has stated that he is illiterate and unable to tell the months of the year apart.

He has alleged that he was beaten while in pre-trial detention on two separate occasions in January and in March.

'By granting clemency to Vasil Yusepchuk, President Lukashenka will make good declarations that Belarus is ready to declare a moratorium on the death penalty and make Europe a death penalty free zone', states Amnesty International.