Amnesty International asks to commute death sentence handed down to Henadz Yakavitski
Gennadii Yakovitskii (Henadz Yakavitski) was sentenced to death in Belarus on 5 January. His was the first death sentence to be passed in 2016.
On 5 January, the Minsk Regional Court found Gennadii Yakovitskii (49 years old) guilty of the brutal murder of his partner, on 29 June 2015. She was 35 years old. Gennadii Yakovitskii was sentenced to death in 1989 following a conviction for murder in a separate case when Belarus was still part of the former Soviet Union. His death sentence was later commuted to a 15 year prison term.
In this latest case, Gennadii Yakovitskii reportedly killed his partner in the flat which they shared, following two days of drinking with friends. As witnesses, those same friends gave contradictory testimonies although all of them alleged that Gennadii Yakovitskii hit his partner with his fists many times, during an argument.
An appeal against the conviction and death sentence was lodged by Gennadii Yakovitskii with the Supreme Court on 20 January. If the conviction is upheld, and if Gennadii Yakovitskii does not receive a presidential pardon, he could be executed within months.
Belarus is the only country in Europe and Central Asia which continues to apply the death penalty.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. It violates the right to life, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
Please write immediately in Belarusian, Russian, English or your own language:
- Urging President Lukashenka to halt any planned executions and immediately commute the death sentence handed down to Gennadii Yakovitskii and all others sentenced to death in Belarus;
- Calling on him to establish an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty;
- Stress that whilst we are not seeking to downplay the seriousness of the crime of which Gennadii Yakovitskii has been convicted of, research shows that the death penalty does not deter crime more than other forms of imprisonment and is the ultimate denial of human rights.