TIME TO CHANGE: STING SUPPORTS DEATH PENALTY ABOLITION CAMPAIGN IN BELARUS (video)
Sting, internationally-acclaimed musician and activist, has lent his support to the efforts of human rights defenders to abolish the use of the death penalty in Belarus. Sting recently performed in Minsk as part of his Symphonicity World Tour [www.sting.com] and met with human rights defenders to sign the petition for the latest round of the death penalty abolition campaign launched by the Belarus Helsinki Committee, Viasna and Amnesty International. "It's time to change," said Sting in a recorded message of support.
Belarus remains the only European country still carrying out the death penalty. Andrey Zhuk and Vasily Yuzepchuk were executed in March this year. Two more Belarusian citizens were sentenced to death in May and their appeals were rejected in September. One more death sentence was handed down in September. Execution is by a shot in the back of the head. The body is not handed over to the family, who are only informed after the execution, and the place of burial is kept secret, causing further distress to relatives.
Along with Sting’s support, the petition has been signed by some of the best-known figures in Belarus - musicians Liavon Volski (from the band NRM) and Uladzimir Pugach (from the band J: Mors) and writers, Sviatlana Aleksievich and Uladzimir Arlou - and will help to draw international attention to the death penalty as a universal issue which transcends national boundaries.