Catherine Ashton urges Belarus to introduce moratorium on death penalty
EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton today issued a statement condemning the death sentence imposed on a detainee of Mahiliou prison in Belarus after he murdered his cellmate.
According to the statement: “(The High Representative) is conscious of the serious nature of the crime for which this individual has been convicted. However, she does not believe that capital punishment can ever be justified. The European Union opposes capital punishment under all circumstances. The death penalty is considered to be a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity”.
Finally, High Representative Ashton called on Belarus to join a global moratorium on the death penalty with a view to move towards its abolition.
On April 24, the Mahiliou Regional Court imposed the death penalty on an inmate of a Mahiliou prison after he murdered a cellmate. The 43-year-old man, a native of Ukraine’s Zhytomyr province who was earlier convicted of killing three people, reportedly played a game of dominoes with his cellmate and the winner would get to live and the other would die. Since he won, he strangled his cellmate with a scarf back in July 2012 with the help of a young accomplice.
Belarus is the only country in Europe which still submitted and executed death sentences. For this country is constantly criticized international organizations that are fighting for the abolition of the death penalty.
In 2012, Dzmitry Kanavalau and Uladzislau Kavaliou, sentenced to death for a terrorist act in Minsk metro on 11 April 2011, were executed. According to Amnesty International, one more death verdict was executed last year apart from these two.