Tamara Sialiun: the practice of non-issuance of bodies for burial must be discontinued
Tamara Sialiun, mother of Pavel Sialiun, executed by shooting in April 2014, filed appeals with the public authorities who have the right to appeal to the Constitutional Court with a proposal to amend the regulations relating to the non-issuance of the bodies of death row convicts for burial, and/or disclosing the place of burial.
In her appeals to the President of the Republic of Belarus, the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus, the Council of the Republic, the Supreme Court and the Council of Ministers of Belarus, Tamara Sialiunasks to raise in the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus the issue of non-compliance of Article 175 of the Criminal Executive Code of the Republic of Belarus and its practical application to Part 3 of Article 25 of the Constitution and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, ratified by the Republic of Belarus.
According to this article (Art. 175 of the Criminal Executive Code) the body is not issued for burial, the place of burial is not disclosed.
Tamara Sialiun believes that the current practice of enforcement of sentenced to death in the Republic of Belarus and the refusal of the judiciary to tell about the exact time of execution and the burial place of her own son has broughther distress and psychological suffering.
The situation of total secrecy with regard to the execution and burial sites, the refusal to issue the bodies of executed for burial, and sending the relatives the prison robes with the mark “ИМН” (exceptional punishment) are equivalent to intimidating or punishing the families.
Tamara Sialiun believes that such attitude of the state towards the family and relatives of the executed constitutes a violation of Part 3 of Article 25 of the Constitution, which stipulates that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".
Earlier Tamara Sialiun addressed the Constitutional Court directly, but has recently received the reply that her appeal had not been considered as according to the law citizens had only indirect access to constitutional justice. The woman was asked to appeal to the public authorities who are authorized to initiate such changes in the legislation.
Non-compliance of Article 175 of the Criminal Executive Code toArticle 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights has been repeatedly pointed at in the decisions of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations, taken on the complaints of Belarusian citizens.
In particular, cases №886/1999 Bandarenkavs. Belarus, №887/ 1999 Liashkevich vs. Belarus, №2120/2011 Liubou Kavaliova and Tatsiana Kaziar vs. Belarus, the Committee considered that the secrecy surrounding the date of execution and the place burial and the refusal to grant the body for burial had the effect of intimidating or punishing families by intentionally leaving them in a state of uncertainty and mental distress. In all these cases, the Committee ordered the Republic of Belarus to inform relatives of the executed about the burial places of their children and to prevent similar violations in the future.