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Death sentence overturned in Belarus

    October 24, 2013

    The President of the Republic of Belarus must introduce an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the use of the death penalty. Amnesty International reiterated its call while welcoming the fact that earlier this week the country’s Supreme Court overturned a death sentence.

    “A step in the right direction has been made. It has to be followed by the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty until this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is abolished,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Belarus.

    “Amnesty understands that part of the court’s reasoning was based on fair trial concerns. If this is the case, the Supreme Court of the Republic Belarus has demonstrated the important role that the judiciary can play in ensuring strict adherence to fair trial standards. This is particulary important in a country that continues to  impose death sentences.”

    Alyaksandr Haryunou, 25 years old, was sentenced to death by the Homel Regional Court  on 14 June for the murder of a student on 20 September 2012. His lawyer appealed the verdict and highlighted violations of the right to a fair trial, including concerns about his mental health.

    At the moment, two more people are on death row. Last year at least three people were executed in Belarus.

    Belarus is the only country in Europe which still uses the death penalty.

    For more informaton, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations, 416-363-9933 ext 332