FIDH deplores execution in secrecy of two death convicts in Belarus

Press release
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According to the information received by our member organisation in Belarus, Human Rights Center "Viasna", two death convicts, Ivan Kulesh and Siarhei Khmialeuski, were recently executed in secrecy in Belarus. Under the Belarusian legislation, the date of the execution is not communicated to the public. Three death convicts were executed in Belarus this year, all took place after the EU lifted in February 2016 the restrictive measures imposed on Belarus for human rights violations.

FIDH deplores the executions because it stands for global abolition of death penalty. Furthermore, as reported in a joint FIDH and HRC Viasna report published in October 2016 entitled Death Penalty in Belarus : Murder on (Un)Lawful Grounds, the use of the capital punishment in Belarus is accompanied by a number of grave human rights violations at each stage of judicial proceedings.

In the report, our organisations denounced the secrecy that surround the application of death penalty in Belarus: the families of death convicts are not informed in advance of the date of the execution, the body is never handed over to them and the location of the burial site is kept secret. The executions of Ivan Kulesh and Siarhei Khmialeuski thus violate the rights of their families, pursuant to several UN decisions on cases related to death penalty in Belarus.

Belarus is the last and single retentionist country in Europe. The EU should firmly advocate for abolition of death penalty in Belarus, or for a moratorium as a first step to abolition, and the latter requirement should shape the EU’s policy towards Belarus.

More information on the executions of Siarhei Khmialeuski and Ivan Kulesh.

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