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Amnesty International: Year's first death sentence in Belarus

2015 2015-03-24T10:36:09+0300 2015-03-24T10:37:08+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Siarhei Ivanou, a 21-year-old man, was sentenced to death on 18 March by the Homel Regional Court for the murder of a 19-year-old woman in August 2013. The court had found him guilty of “committing murder with particular cruelty”, “hooliganism with the use of violence”, robbery and theft. According to the Investigative Committee, Siarhei Ivanou had been under the influence of alcohol and psychotropic drugs when he brutally beat and raped the woman, who died from her injuries. Siarhei Ivanou was also found guilty of stealing her belongings.

In a closed trial, Siarhei Ivanou was represented by a state-appointed lawyer. He can appeal the decision.

Belarus is the last country in Europe and Central Asia still applying the death penalty.

Please write immediately in Belarussian, Russian or your own language:
-        Urging President Lukashenka to halt any planned executions and immediately commute the death sentence handed down to Siarhei Ivanou and all others sentenced to death in Belarus;
-        Calling on him to establish an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to abolishing it;
-        Urging him to ensure that up-to-date information about the use of the death penalty in Belarus is publicly available and that prisoners’ families and lawyers are given full access to them and information about their cases.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka
Vul. Karla Marksa 38
Minsk, Belarus
Fax: +375 17 226 06 10
+375 17 222 38 72
Salutation: Dear President Lukashenka

And copies to:
Prosecutor General
Alyaksandr Kaniuk
Vul. Internatsianalnaya 22
Minsk, Belarus
Fax: +375 17 226 42 52 (Say "fax" clearly if voice answers)
Salutation: Dear Prosecutor General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

Additional Information

Death sentences are often imposed in Belarus after unfair trials which include forced confessions; they are implemented in strict secrecy and without giving adequate notice to the condemned prisoners themselves, their families or legal representatives. The authorities refuse to return the bodies of those executed to their relatives or even tell them where they are buried. Executions are carried out despite requests from the UN Human Rights Committee to the government not to do so until the Committee has considered the cases. The Human Rights Committee and others have found that the application of the death penalty in Belarus violates the human rights of those condemned and their families.

By failing to publish full information about the use of the death penalty, including comprehensive statistics about the number of death sentences imposed and executions carried out, the authorities prevent informed public debate about the issue and hamper the movement towards abolition. The taking of a human life by the state is one of the cruellest acts a government can commit, and it is therefore extremely important that such a punishment should be subjected to public scrutiny and discussion.

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.

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