Amnesty International urges Lukashenka to commute death sentence of Kiryl Kazachok
"Kiryl Kazachok was sentenced to death by the Gomel Regional Court, in southeast Belarus, on 28 December. His was the fourth death sentence to be issued in Belarus in 2016," Amnesty International said on January 13.
AI's appeal urges President Aliaksandr Lukashenka to "commute the death sentence of Kiryl Kazachok and all those on death row in Belarus." It also calls on the President to "establish an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty."
"Belarus sentenced four people to death in 2016 and executed at least four men, two of whom were sentenced in 2015. Kiryl Kazachok was the last person to be sentenced to death in 2016; a year which saw a shocking rise in executions following no executions in 2015. The hiatus in executions had led many, both within Belarus and the international community, to hope that a moratorium may have been introduced," Amnesty International said. "Despite courting the international community with two conferences on the issue of the death penalty in Minsk in March and December 2016, Belarus continued to show a flagrant disdain for the global and regional trend towards abolition. Siarhei Ivanou, who was sentenced to death in March 2015, was the first person to be executed in 2016, in May. The disturbing news broke at the end of November of the executions of another three men, who were all believed to have been shot on 5 November. The families of Ivan Kulesh, Siarhei Khmialeuski and Henadz Yakavitski did not find out that their loved ones had been executed until weeks after the event. Amnesty International remains concerned that Siarhei Vostrykau is at imminent risk of execution. Siarhei Vostrykau, who was sentenced to death in May 2016, was the last remaining known death row inmate before Kiryl Kazachok was sentenced."