Supreme Court overturns death verdict
The Criminal Division of the Supreme Court considered today an appeal filed by Aliaksandr Hrunou earlier sentenced to death by a verdict of the Homel Regional Court. Today, the case was sent back for revision.
Aliaksandr Hrunou was sentenced to death on charges of violating Par. 6.2, Art. 139 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus. The 25-year-old man was found guilty of the murder of his friend Natallia Yemialianchykava. At the trial, he explained that some time before the meeting she had insulted him in the company of his friends and did not apologize for that. This was reportedly the cause of his aggression. As a result, he stabbed the victim 102 times.
On October 18, at a session at the Supreme Court defense counsel Siarhei Krasnou said besides the death penalty that the criminal law of Belarus provides for other kinds of punishment, including imprisonment for a term of eight to twenty-five years or life imprisonment.
The counsel, referring to the rules of international law and the related national legislation, cited a number of violations totally ignored by the court of first instance.
In particular, the lawyer told of the violation of the presumption of innocence against his client (Article 26 of the Constitution and Par. 2, Article 14 of the ICCPR), the violation of the principle of equal protection and adversarial proceedings (Article 22 of the Constitution and Art. 24 of the Code for Criminal Procedures), stressing a number of contradictions related to the psychological and psychiatric examination of the defendant.
In addition, the Siarhei Krasnou mentioned another aspect that occurred immediately after the verdict, which, according to him, was ignored by everyone, “When the verdict of the Judicial Board of the Homel Regional Court had not yet entered into force, Hrunou was already held in solitary confinement on death row in the detention center of Homel, where he was forced to wear clothing with the inscription “CP” (capital punishment) on the back, that is, "the death penalty", so he experienced such a treatment as if the outcome of the case and his fate had been already decided...”
The court session was attended by coordinator of the campaign "Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus" Andrei Paluda.