Why aren't bodies of death convicts issued to their relatives?
mother of Uladzislau Kavaliou, sentenced to death for the bombing in
the Minsk subway, seeks to be given out her son's body.
According to the fifth paragraph of Article 175 of the Penal Code of Belarus, "the body of an executed death convict is not issued, the place of burial is not disclosed".
Where did the norm come from and what is its meaning?
"This rule has existed since Soviet times", says human rights activist and former judge Harry Pahaniaila. "The body is not given to relatives for burial. They are buried by aspecial team. The place of burial is not indicated.
They say that this is done in order to avoid the possible desecration of the graves of those who have made grave crimes.
On the other hand, it is also said that the bodies are not issue to prevent the honoring of the graves of exceptional criminals, so as not to hurt their victims.
The UN Committee on Human Rights treats this procedure as inhumane treatment of relatives.
What concerns Liubou Kavaliova, I advised her to go to court, using out legislation on the right to the corpse, and international laws, including the decision of the UN Committee on Human Rights on her complaint, in which non-issuance of a corpse is considered to be a violation of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. However, she didn't follow my advice and is trying to involve the public in order to get the Belarusian authorities give out the body or disclose the place where her son was buried."
Belarus is the only country in Europe where the death penalty is still used. However, a law prohibiting the issue of the bodies of terrorists, killed during military operations, to their relatives, has been in action in Russian since 2002. It is also prohibited to tell about the places of their burial. It is worth recalling that the body of the leader of "Al Qaeda" Osama bin Laden, who was killed in 2011 by an American anti-terrorist group, was not issued to his relatives and buried at sea.